Everything you need to know about one of the most iconic football stadiums on the planet, Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu.
Sunday 14th December 1947
The Santiago Bernabeu is the home of European football giants Real Madrid. The Spanish club, nicknamed ‘Los Blancos’, play all of their domestic and European matches at the stadium.
The stadium is also used to host European club competitions and international fixtures, with the Spanish national team playing matches at the Bernabeu regularly.
The stadium is named after former Real Madrid player, manager and long-time president Santiago Bernabeu, who is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the club and indeed Spanish football.
Originally referred to as ‘Nuevo Estadio Chamartin’ by the fans, the club officially renamed the stadium eight years after its completion in honour of their president.
The Santiago Bernabeu officially opened on 14th December 1947 with a match against Portuguese champions OS Belenenses. Replacing the old ground that was considered too small for Real’s ambitions.
The Santiago Bernabeu currently has a seating capacity of 81,044, making it the third largest home of a top-flight European club behind domestic rivals Barcelona’s Camp Nou and Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.
The stadium has been renovated several times since its opening, with the capacity at one time reaching as high as 129,000.
The Santiago Bernabeu has a proud history of hosting some of the most important events in football. It has hosted the finals of both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League on four separate occasions.
Additionally, the stadium also hosted the second leg of the 2018 Copa Libertadores Finals, making it the first stadium to have hosted the two major continental club cup finals (UEFA Champions League and Copa Libertadores).
The stadium has also hosted the finals of both the 1982 FIFA World Cup and the 1964 European Nations Cup (now UEFA European Championships).
Real Madrid have been attempting to renovate and expand the Santiago Bernabeu consistently over the last few years, but have been delayed by outside influences such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which caused a halt in proceedings.
In 2017 the club announced a €525-million renovation project to expand the stadium by 4000 seats and adding a retractable roof, the work was funded by selling the club’s naming rights to the stadium, meaning the name of the Santiago Bernabeu could soon be subject to change.
Initially planned to be completed by 2022, the project is now scheduled to begin in 2023.
The record attendance at the Santiago Bernabeu was during the 1955/56 European Cup semi-final between Real Madrid and Italian club AC Milan when 129,690 fans attended the game.
The current playing surface at the Santiago Bernabeu stands at 105 m x 68 m (115 yd x 74 yd), which is the maximum size allowed as part of UEFA’s governing regulations.
The Santiago Bernabeu is located in the Chamartin district of Madrid near the centre of the Spanish capital city.
It occupies the block bounded by the Paseo de la Castellana and the streets of Concha Espina, Padre Damián, and Rafael Salgado.
The Santiago Bernabeu is best reached by metro line which delivers passengers directly to the stadium.
There are also several buses from the city centre that stop at the Santiago Bernabeu, plentiful car parking is available within short walking distance from the stadium.
Address: Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Av. de Concha Espina, 1, 28036 Madrid, Spain.
Yes, Real Madrid offer self-guided stadium tours which do not require a reservation, so you can usually just turn up and visit.
On match days the tour is open until five hours before kick-off.
The tour allows visitors to visit the team dugouts, presidential box, press room, changing rooms, player’s tunnel, trophy room and the club shop.