Santiago Bernabeu is one of the most prestigious football stadiums in the world. It has been serving as the home of the Spanish giants Real Madrid since 1947. It currently has the seating capacity of 81,044 people.
It has been renovated twice, in 1982 and 2001. In addition to being called a temple of football, it has also become a tourist attraction due to its significance to the game. In the past year, over 120,000 foreign tourists have taken the newly initiated tour of the stadium.
On 27th October 1944, the construction of a new stadium of Real Madrid began. It was named as the Nuevo Estadio Chamartín. After completion, the stadium was inaugurated on 14 December, 1947 with a match between the home side Real Madrid and the Portuguese team Os Belenenses.
The Los Blancos won comfortably with a score line of 3-1. Sabino Barinaga, the Spanish striker who played for Real Madrid was the first person to score on this pitch. Back then, the capacity of the stadium was around 75,000 people, including both the seats and the galleries.
The final matches for the 1964 European Nations' Cup and the 1982 FIFA World Cup were held at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, thus making it the first stadium in Europe to host both a UEFA European Championship and a FIFA World Cup final.
The home team, Spain, won all the three games that it played in the Bernabeu in the 1964 European Nations’ Cup. Italy famously defeated Germany in the finals of the 1982 World Cup.
It hosted the European Cup Final in 1957, 1969 and 1980 and the Champions League final in 2010.
The El Clasico, played between Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona, arguably the two best clubs in the world, is one of the fiercest rivalries in the world of football. It’s results and impact is not just restricted to football but to politics and the domestic affairs of the nation.
Be it the 1970 Copa del Generalisimo quarter-final penalty controversy or Rivaldo’s disallowed goal in 2001, a chunk of these controversies has taken place on this stadium.
Referees have often been accused of siding with the home side and giving controversial decisions that have changed the fate of many games and tournaments.
Real Madrid is to host Barcelona for the first El Clasico of the La Liga in the 2017-18 season on December 23rd. This game has high significance since Barcelona currently enjoy a 11-point lead over Real Madrid.
It is one of the most anticipated games before the winter break. Despite Madrid’s disappointing form this season, they have played comparatively much better at home, which has led to their qualification to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.