MADRID – It has been one of the premier soccer venues over the course of seven decades.
Preparations are underway to mark famed Real Madrid stadium Santiago Bernabeu for its 70th opening anniversary on Dec. 14 with plans for future developments.
On Dec. 14, 1947, Real Madrid opened its new stadium under the name of Real Madrid CF Stadium. However, the stadium was called among fans the “Chamartin” after the name of stadium’s neighborhood in Madrid.
The first major remodeling of the stadium started in 1952 and lasted until 1954, increasing its capacity by some 125,000 spectators.
In 1955, the board of Real Madrid changed the name of the stadium to “Santiago Bernabeu” in honor of its then president, one of the most prestigious leaders in the Spanish club’s history.
On May 18, 1957, electric lighting was installed in the stadium, which allowed holding the first night game on the premises.
The Madrid stadium has hosted numerous finals and important events throughout its history, especially the 1964 European Championship final between Spain and the Soviet Union, when the Spanish team won 2-1 and lifted the title.
The Bernabeu also hosted three group stage matches of the 1982 FIFA World Cup, as well as the final game won by Italy defeating Germany 3-1.
In addition, the stadium was chosen by UEFA to host four finals of the Champions League in 1967, 1969, 1980 and 2010.
The stadium marks its 70th anniversary with a plan to start remodeling in 2018. Real Madrid hopes to have a retractable roof on its stadium and a luxury hotel inside the facility by 2022.