Atletico Madrid president offers use of stadium to city rivals Real Madrid during Santiago Bernabeu reconstruction

Santiago BernabeuGetty Images

Atletico Madrid have offered Real Madrid the use of the Wanda Metropolitano should crowds return to La Liga before the Santiago Bernabeu renovation is finished.

Los Blancos’ ground is presently in the throes of a facelift, with Zinedine Zidane’s side slated to play their remaining matches of the 2019-20 season at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano – the ground used by the club’s ‘B’ team.

As there will be no spectators present at Spanish top-flight games before the end of the season, which is poised to restart after the coronavirus crisis, this poses no immediate problems for the record Champions League winners.

Should crowds be free to return to fixtures prior to the Bernabeu’s renovation is completed, Atleti president Enrique Cerezo has invited the club’s eternal rivals to consider using their facilities.

“Would we rent them the Wanda Metropolitano? I’m going to take my mask off to answer you. Let no-one doubt that we will be at Real Madrid’s disposal,” he explained at an event with the Mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida.

The situation is not without precedent, with a reciprocal arrangement used when Atleti were were upgrading the Vicente Calderon at the beginning of the 1996-97 campaign.

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Martinez-Almeida, an Atleti fan, pointed out. “On Matchday 1 after we won the double, we played at the Bernabeu because our ground was under construction. It’s already happened and, of course, if the club does not have any problems, the fans will not either.”

There have been reports in Spain that because the coronavirus crisis has eased to such a degree, fans may be allowed back into stadiums, albeit at a reduced capacity.

Marca has reported that Real have turned down their neighbours’ offer, even in this case, and will continue to play at the Di Stefano, where there are no plans to have supporters. 

Madrid have six home matches remaining in a league campaign in which they will attempt to overturn a two-point deficit they face to Barcelona at the top of the standings, and have upgraded their stadium at their Valdebebas training complex in order to be VAR compliant, which is required for top-flight fixtures.

Their first game in over three months will take place on Sunday against Eibar, while Atleti will face Athletic Club the same day as they seek to secure Champions League qualification.