6 September 2022: Since November 2021, when Real Madrid turned to social media to present its plans for the new Santiago Bernabèu stadium, work has been non-stop. The deadline: end of 2022.
The futuristic new stadium, which hosts its first match when Real Madrid played Betis on Saturday 3 September, is among the most technologically advanced in the world. The exterior is embellished with a series of panels that illuminate at night, giving the stadium the appearance of a spaceship complete with self-propelled roof. But the real treat lies inside, where the hybrid grass playing field is able to completely vanish.
This retractable lawn system ensures the state-of-the-art stadium is fully multifunctional, with the space able to be used not only for football but also for a host of other sporting occasions and events, from tennis to basketball to volleyball. Different sports can even be hosted simultaneously.
When the turf is not in use, a system of retractable trays – which run on rails and lifts – move it to a multi-storey underground garage beneath the playing surface, where it spends most of its time in a protective, temperature- and lighting-controlled environment – a real air-conditioned greenhouse.
In this 35-metre deep ‘cave’, care and maintenance of the field allows the grass to grow as if in the open air, with ventilation, irrigation and fertigation systems, air conditioning, side maintenance walkways, LED lighting, control cameras and a disease prevention system with ultraviolet (UVC) treatment.
The turf itself has been developed, manufactured, supplied and installed by Italy-based experts Limonta Sport and Rappo srl – the former an international leader in the production and marketing of artificial turf, the latter in natural turf and pitch laying.
The installation marks the seventh time that Real Madrid has chosen to rely on Limonta’s Mixto® technology – a perfect mix of natural and artificial turf – with the club going elsewhere in 2020 only to immediately return to Limonta Sport and Rappo srl in 2021.
Seventeen refrigerated trucks transported what are known in the trade as big rools – clods as large as 18sq m – into the stadium, to be expertly placed onto the platforms. The laying of the Mixto® hybrid turf was completed in just three nights – from 21 to 23 August – in spite of challenging conditions where temperatures remained at almost 40°C even at 6.00pm.
The quality of the hybrid turf, as well as the work of the two companies’ staff – in collaboration with local partner Tapiz Verde – was once again considered exceptional by the Real Madrid coaches.
When Real Madrid and Betis clash on the new pitch, eyes will no doubt be on the ball – but they will also be on the new hybrid grass pitch, which hides a never-before-seen technology, both inside and deep beneath.
Real Madrid FC and Mixto® – together again for another season at the highest level.
Credits: Real Madrid | 29 August 2022. Work on the new Santiago Bernabéu stadium
Credits: Real Madrid | November 2021. Presentation of the new Santiago Bernabéu stadium project