Real Madrid: ‘Galacticos’ to get $440 million stadium makeover

When your team is jam packed with “Galacticos” it’s only fitting that they should showcase their skills in an avant-garde setting.

So just shy of 70 years since its inauguration, Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium — home to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo — is getting a €400 million ($441m) makeover after the club and Spanish city’s council announced an agreement Tuesday to revamp the team’s historic home.

The project will see a retractable roof added and construction is expected to be completed by 2020.

“It will be a dramatic transformation,” Real president Florentino Perez said, sat alongside Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena. “We will have the best stadium and we are doing it for Real Madrid, our fans and this city.

“This stadium is one of the emblematic icons of our city and we want to make it one of the best stadiums in the world and the undisputed symbol of the strength of our capital.

“It is a happy day for everyone because as a result of the consensus and this agreement, we will see a dramatic transformation of the Santiago Bernabeu.”

‘Avant-garde architectural icon’

Named after the legendary Real president, the Bernabeu will maintain its 81,044 capacity, while also featuring a striking new facade that will play highlights of the club’s greatest moment in its illustrious history.

Ranked by Forbes as the world’s most valuable club, Real has been trying to revamp the stadium for several years, although the 11-time European champion’s earlier projects were turned down by the city and court decisions.

But Perez says the agreement will now see the Bernabeu transformed into “an avant-garde architectural icon.”

The new metallic structure will also include a retail park, restaurants, a hotel and a club museum.

Mayor Carmena stressed her “great satisfaction” with the agreement and the importance of improving the surrounding areas of the stadium.

“We always want to go forward and the best procedure is to meet, listen and understand,” she said. “This agreement is concluded and has been done to promote the modernization project of the stadium and improving the urban environment of our beloved Bernabeu.”

The revamp will help Real keep up with rival Barcelona off the pitch as well as on it, after the Catalan club unveiled its plans for a stadium upgrade in March this year.

Work is due to begin in 2017 and is scheduled for completion in the 2021/22 season, with the capacity increasing from 99,354 to 105,000.

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