Madrid, More than 18 months later, Real Madrid is returning to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

Madrid will get to play at its venue when it hosts Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Sunday, 560 days after it last hosted a match at the stadium. The Bernabéu’s massive renovation project is far from over, but it will reopen to a limited crowd when the league returns from the international break.

It will be the first match at the venue since before the pandemic on 1 March 2020, when Madrid defeated Barcelona 2-0 with Zinedine Zidane as coach

Madrid president Florentino Pérez said, “Football is returning to the Santiago Bernabéu. It’s very exciting to be able to say this after everything we have been through during these sad and strange times.”

Madrid took advantage of the prohibition on spectators in stadiums because of the pandemic to accelerate the construction work at the Bernabéu while it played its home matches at the small Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium in the club’s training complex. It played three straight away matches in the first three rounds this season to get the venue ready for crowds again.

Spanish authorities are allowing clubs to fill 60% of their venues’ capacities, which would mean nearly 50,000 fans at the Bernabéu, but only several thousand people are expected on Sunday. Not all seating areas will be available until the renovation concludes, and Madid has yet to say the exact number of tickets it put on sale.

The Bernabéu is not expected to be fully finished until the end of 2022. Construction work is visible outside and inside the venue, which will get a retractable roof and a state-of-the-art video board.

Six teams are tied at the top of the standings after three rounds; Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, Barcelona, Atlético and Mallorca.

Source: Oman News Agency