The history of Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – Real Madrid’s home

santiago bernabeu stadium

By M. Kolev
08 OCTOBER 2016

This is the history of Santiago Bernabeu Stadium or Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (in Spanish) which is the home of the most successful football team in UEFA Champions League tournament – Real Madrid.

On its field have played some of the biggest names in football history, some of the greatest teams of all-time and on it have been held significant international tournaments.

The history of Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – Its birth

The history of Santiago Bernabeu Stadium begins in the year of 1943, as Santiago Bernabéu Yeste was elected president of Real Madrid CF. The reason was that in that same year after an El Clasico clash the fans of both teams participated in a big violence and the current presidents of Barcelona and Real Madrid were forced by the government to resign.

The newly elected president began to reform the whole structure of Real Madrid and he also aimed to build the biggest stadium in Europe at that time.

The stadium was inaugurated on December 14, 1947, with a match between Real Madrid and the Portuguese champions at that time OS Belenenses which ended with a victory for the hosts with 3:1. The author of the first goal of the newly build stadium was Barinaga.

The name of the stadium was The New Chamartín Stadium as Old Chamartín was affected by the Civil War. The capacity of the newly build stadium was for 75.145 spectators of which nearly one-third were on seats.

As Santiago Bernabeu was still the president of the club he had more plans for the stadium’s development. 7 years after its inauguration in 1954 occurred its first reconstruction as the stadium was enlarged with a capacity for 125.000 spectators and its facilities were also modernised according to that time’s standards.

A year after its reconstruction 1955 the club’s General Assembly of Members Compromisaros decided to rename the stadium – Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

2 years later in 1957, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium became the stadium with the best and ultra-modern lighting.

The whole administration of the White Ballet was accommodated at the stadium in 1965.

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – The international stage

On the World Cup 1982 held in Spain, and the club was required to make another renovation under the supervision of architects Rafael Luis Alemany and Manuel Salinas. The reason was that at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium were planned to be played the qualification stages, as well as the final of the World Cup 1982.

The ground capacity was diminished to 90.800 spectators and around 74% of the fans were covered by a metal canopy.

The newly reconstructed stadium was ready to host three second-round Group Two matches and the final of the World Cup – Italy vs West Germany.

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – The next expansion and reconstruction

In the 80’s occurred fatal accidents on some stadiums across Europe as the most prominent ones happened at Hillsborough Stadium and Heysel Stadium.

For that reason, UEFA obliged the clubs to include separate ways to different sections and seats for all fans.

Finally, on May 7, 1994, the project of expansion and reconstruction of the Bernabeu Stadium was over and the capacity was once more expanded for 110.000 spectators and 20.000 seats were upgraded and granted a precise view of the pitch as each one of them had a tilt of 87 degrees.

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – 21-st century

I, Elemaki [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

During the 1999-2000 season, Real Madrid executed a modernisation which consisted of making various services available for the members of the club and the fans. Real was the first club at that time to sell tickets via its own phone line .

After Florentino Pérez became the president he began the initiative to improve the comfort at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium and the quality of its facilities by implementing his „Stadium’s Infrastructure Master Plan“.

Florentino Pérez invested €127 million by adding a new facade on Father Damien street and expanding the east side. The stadium’s seats capacity was expanded to 80,354 seats by the expansion of the lateral east side.

The stadium has four restaurants, the world’s largest sports store, the ‘Tour of the Bernabéu’, changed the electronic scoreboards, the dressing rooms and Padre Damián facade and roof were inaugurated.

On November 14, 2007, UEFA has made Santiago Bernabeu Stadium an elite stadium by including it in its Elite Stadiums list.

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – Now and its future

In 2011 the stadium has increased its capacity a little bit to 81.044.

On his second term as president Florentino Pérez announced an initiative to sell for €400 million the naming rights of Santiago Bernabeu in order to conduct a new renovation project.

On January 31, 2014, was announced the winning Bernabeu stadium design project produced by German architects GMP.

In the design is incorporated the construction of a retractable roof which will engulf the whole stadium and will be lighted be LED system and a giant screen will be included on the eastern facade.

The business aspect of the project involves the construction of retail, a hotel, restaurants, underground parking, improved team museum.

This is what Florentino Pérez intends to make by this huge project:

“We want the Santiago Bernabéu to become the best stadium in the world. The new twenty-first century Bernabéu will continue to be a hallowed ground and it will remain in the heart of our city and be a model and icon in world football. A Bernabéu for all our fans and members to be proud of”.

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – Major international tournament fixtures and results

European Nations’ Cup 1964

Qualifying round match:
Spain vs Romania (6:0) – November 1, 1962

Tournament match:
Spain vs Hungary (2:1) – June 17, 1964

Final of the tournament:
Spain vs Soviet Union (2:1) – June 17, 1964

FIFA World Cup 1982

Group B from the second round of the tournament:

West Germany vs England (0:0) – June 29, 1982
West Germany vs Spain (2:1) – July 2, 1982
Spain vs England (0:0) – July 5, 1982

Final of the tournament:
Italy vs West Germany (3:1) – July 11, 1982

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium – Address

Av. Concha Espina 1, 28036, Madrid – Spain