Who hasn't heard of the Santiago Bernabéu, the home of one of the biggest football clubs in Europe ?!
But here are some lesser known things about this stadium, one of the most amazing in Spain:
1. It is home venue of one of the most famous football clubs in history
The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is home venue of one of the biggest football clubs in the world, Real Madrid. Players have white equipment, so their nickname has long been "Los Blancos" ("Whites").
2. Santiago Bernabéu transformed Real Madrid
Real Madrid has always had the status of one of the largest football clubs in Spain. The club is one of the founding members of La Liga, the Spanish football competition and one of the three clubs, along with FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, which has never relegated.
However, Real Madrid became one of the largest clubs in Europe when the Santiago Bernabéu (former club player) became its president (in 1943).
3. The construction of the stadium was started in 1944
One of the first things the new president of Real Madrid did was build a new stadium and upgrade the club's training complex.
After securing the purchase of the stadium on which the stadium was built, construction began just 1 year after the Santiago Bernabéu became president of the club on October 27, 1944.
4. The construction of the stadium lasted 3 years
The architects of the stadium were Manuel Muñoz Monasterio and Luis Alemany Soler, who was hired just one month before the start of the works.
3 years later, the stadium was completed. It had an initial capacity of 75,145 spectators, of which 27,645 were seats (7,125 covered) and 47,500 for standing spectators.
5. The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was to have a different name
When the stadium first opened, it replaced Real Madrid's old home, called the "Estadio Chamartin". This was the location of the Real Madrid team for 23 years, and the old stadium had a capacity of 15,000 spectators.
6. The first game at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium ended in a victory for Real Madrid
Unlike, for example, Manchester United's inaugural game at Old Trafford, which lost its first match at the new stadium (3-4 against rivals Liverpool), Real Madrid won the first game played in its new location.
Real Madrid hosted the Portuguese team of "Os Belenenses" on December 14, 1947, and the match ended with a 3-1 victory for "Los Blancos". The first player to ever score a goal at the Bernabéu was Real Madrid striker Sabino Baringa.
7. The stadium was renamed in 1955
Just over 11 years after the start of construction of Real Madrid's new home and just 8 years after its completion, Real Madrid's board of directors at the time decided to change its name to honor President Santiago Bernabéu.
Therefore, the name of the stadium was changed from "Nuevo Estadio Chamartín" to "Estadio Santiago Bernabéu".
8. The Bernabéu becomes the largest stadium in Europe
The first serious renovations were completed in the same year that the stadium was renamed, 1955. One of the most interesting facts about the Santiago Bernabeu stadium is that during this period it was the largest stadium in all of Europe.
The first renovations were completed on June 19, 1955, and the stadium's capacity was increased from just over 75,000 to over 125,000 spectators!
9. The stadium was modernized during the 1982 World Cup
Since Spain hosted the 1982 World Cup and the Bernabéu was one of the highlights of the tournament, the stadium needed serious modernization.
In addition to covering all areas with roofs (except the east side), the stadium facade was redesigned, electronic signs were installed and locker rooms and press areas were renovated.
10. A new level of rings was added in the 1990s
Following some tragedies at Hillsborough Stadium (1989) and Heysel Stadium (1985), which resulted in dozens of deaths, UEFA called for the stadiums to be modernized again to prevent such disasters.
Thus, the Bernabéu was provided with 4 towers in all 4 corners of the stadium and an additional ring was integrated. This literally doubled the height of the stadium, from 22 to 45 meters.
11. Renovation between 2001-2006
Florentino Pérez became president of Real Madrid in the early 2000s and launched a master plan to ensure that Real Madrid will remain one of the largest football clubs on the planet. During his tenure, Real Madrid players began to be called the "Galactics", as most of them were famous and acquired with huge transfer fees.
His overall plan also included a € 127 million renovation of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which took place between 2001 and 2006, transforming the stadium into a modern arena in accordance with the club's statutes.
Among the improvements made are:
• Extension of the stadium on the east side
• Addition of a new facade on Father Damien Street
• New speakers and new VIP areas
• New press area (also located in the east)
• New audio system
• Integration of heating in the stands
• Panoramic elevators
• New restaurants
• Escalators in the access tower
Due to the expansion of the east side of the stadium, its capacity has also increased to the current capacity of 81,044.
12. What is happening at the Santiago Bernabéu?
Changes in technology and architecture are a challenge for Real Madrid, which must constantly look for solutions to remain competitive. Atlético Madrid's Neighbors have recently built a completely new, state-of-the-art stadium, and their main rivals - FC Barcelona - have huge plans for the Camp Nou.
Therefore, a new renovation project has been announced, with a total cost of 525 million euros, to turn the already advanced Bernabéu into one of the best stadiums in the world.
Did we make you curious? When you first plan to get to Madrid, don't forget to book your seat for a tour that will change the way you look at the stadiums.