The Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid

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As a tourist visiting Madrid, there is certainly no shortage of things to do or places to see, but one of the sites you simply must check out while visiting this historic city is the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, home to the Real Madrid football (soccer) club.  Football is one of, if not the favorite pastime of Madrileños (citizens of Madrid), and nowhere in the city—or country, for that matter—is this more evident than at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.  Built in 1947, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has been drawing fans for over 65 years, and its team is one of the most recognized and successful clubs of all time. The stadium has a total capacity of 85,454, but even with this awesome size the stadium regularly sells out for important matches.

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu:  History, Description and Ticket Information

Prior to 1924, in the early days of Real Madrid, the club played its home games at Campo De O’Donnell before moving to the more expansive Campo de Chamartin to accommodate more fans.  This new arrangement would last until 1943, when then club-president Santiago Bernabeu decided that Real Madrid, growing rapidly in popularity, had once again outgrown its home and needed a new modern stadium in which to house the club’s growing fan base.  As a result of this decision, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu was born.

Workers first broke ground for the new stadium in 1945, beginning a two-year construction project on the same site as the Campo de Chamartin.  The stadium finally opened on December 14, 1947 to the delight of thousands of excited supporters, and Real Madrid christened the new facility that night by beating the Portuguese championship team OS Belenenses 3-1.

The original name of the stadium was Nuevo Estadio Chamartin, but was later changed to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu—after the club president.  The stadium originally consisted of two uncovered tiers with a total capacity of 75,000 spectators, but when a third tier was added along the long sides of the stadium in 1954, the capacity increased to approximately 125,000.  From that time until the late 1970s, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu hosted a number of important matches, perhaps the most significant being the semifinal match of the 1964 Euro Championships—a match won by Spain 2-1 over the Soviet union.

The years took their toll on the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, so much so that in the late 1970s plans were suggested for building a new stadium in the north of Madrid.  These plans were put off, however, primarily because the city was vying to host matches during the 1982 World Cup, and the decision was made to renovate Estadio Santiago Bernabeu rather than begin a new construction project.  This renovation consisted of a roof built over the two-tiered stands and seats added to half the stadium, thus reducing the capacity to roughly 98,000.  The Estadio Santiago Bernabeu saw plenty of action during the 1982 World Cup, hosting three matches in the second round of group play and the World Cup final, a match won by Italy over West Germany.

The Estadio Santiago Bernabeu underwent an extensive redevelopment program in 1992, one that expanded the third tier throughout the stadium, replaced all bleacher-type benches with modern and more comfortable seating and created several corporate facilities—facilities that were further refurbished in 2001 and 2006.

Over the years, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu has seen its share of exciting action, hosting four European Cup and Champion League Finals, the first of which saw Real Madrid defeat Fiorentina 2-0 in 1957.  The facility continues to be a big draw to this day, and with the success of Spanish soccer at an all-time high it seems it will continue to do so for many years to come.

Much earlier, the Viejo Chamartín Stadium was where this team played. The plays were shifted to Santiago Bernabéu upon its construction in 1947, and are there till date. The name of the Santiago Bernabéu is given to it as the builder was of the same name. it is believed to be the finest Real Madrid Stadium ever seen.

There have been many upgradation in the stadium, and the most noticeable is the new lifts which takes the viewers to the stadium’s top, giving them a great view. Besides, the upgradations have also resulted in a stylish look to the stadium. Renovation works took place first in 1954, then in 1982, again in 1993 and then in 2003. This last one was putting up a cover for the side of Padre Damian.

Estadio is the name given to this stadium in Santiago Bernabéu and is easily accessible by the metro. It was inaugurated on the 14th of December, 1947. The teams playing the inaugural match that day were Real Madrid and OS Belenenses. Besides, the stadium has been a host to many other important games and tournaments which include the 2nd European Cup Final in 1957. The Real Madrid’s Commemorative Celebration also took place here on its 75th anniversary, and the World Championship Final in 1982 was also held here. Also, Pope John Paul II chose this place for a gathering in the year 1982. this means that the stadium has witnessed several important events in the history of world soccer.

The stadiums capacity has undergone a drastic change, which accommodated 120,000 people after the expansion took place in 1953. This has constantly been reduced owing to modernizations and expansion plans which keeps coming up. UEFA norms were violated in 1998-99 when people were standing at matches, which is not allowed as per their rules. In 2003, another change was made which increased the capacity to 80,400 people. Again in 1992, an expansion took place which increased the capacity to 100,000 people. Also, there has been a plan to build a retractable roof during matches so that it accommodates more people during games. This plan was announced by Florentino Perez in 2005, who after making the announcement quit the club leaving the plans on tenterhooks.

The stadium has a private metro station for itself, named the Madrid Metro. It must be added here that being at the center of the business community of Madrid, it was not usual to see this for a soccer stadium. When renovation took place on the stadium’s exteriors, the noticeable entrance towers were a major highlight. On the 14th of November, 2007, the FIFA named the stadium as an elite one. This gives the stadium the license to host the finals of all major soccer events.

If you plan to catch a match while visiting Madrid, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is located in the central part of the city on the Paseo de la Castellana, one of Madrid’s principal avenues. The stadium lies about 4 kilometers north of the Plaza de Cibeles, where the Paseo de la Castellana originates. It is a similar distance from Puerta del Sol, one of Madrid’s main squares.  Seats can be bought on-site, online ( or by phone and range from €30.00 to €95.00 in the goal and corner sections of the stadium to €55.00 to €175.00 along the long sides of the field.

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