Real Madrid will replace the pitch at the Bernabeu for the fifth time this season ahead of their Champions League semifinal with Manchester City, with coach Carlo Ancelotti admitting the surface is “suffering” amid stadium construction work.
The Bernabeu is undergoing an €800 million renovation — including a roof and retractable pitch — which began in 2020 and is due to be completed later this year.
The team have continued to play at the stadium as building work goes on, although the quality of the playing surface has deteriorated.
Madrid have already had to replace the grass four times, with a fifth now imminent before the first leg with City on May 9.
“The [construction] works affect that pitch, that’s obvious,” Ancelotti said on Saturday after Madrid’s 2-0 LaLiga win over Celta Vigo. “We’ve changed the pitch periodically and we’ll keep doing that, it’s nothing new or surprising.
“We knew that with the works the pitch would suffer, and they’re working on it. Before the City game I think it will be changed, that was the idea before. It’s been changed many times, with the works it deteriorates fast.”
“Every team wants to play on a nice pitch, that’s obvious,” Ancelotti added on Monday, when asked how his complaints compared to Barcelona coach Xavi’s outspoken criticism of LaLiga playing surfaces.
“We’re not complaining but it’s obvious. The pitch is suffering because of the [construction] works. Let’s hope it’s fixed as soon as possible.”
The state-of-the-art new retractable pitch at the Bernabeu — which is not yet in use — will be intended to protect the grass while the stadium hosts additional events to generate increased revenue.
Madrid’s promotional material for the project included images of the stadium hosting NBA and NFL matches, as well as tennis tournaments and concerts.
Madrid are second in LaLiga, eleventh points behind leaders Barca.
They visit Girona on Tuesday before league games hosting Almeria on Saturday. Ancelotti’s side then travel to Real Sociedad on May 2 followed by the Copa del Rey final with Osasuna in Seville on May 6.
Real Madrid pitch ‘suffering’ ahead of UCL clash