Real Madrid CF returned to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu earlier this season and started welcoming a limited number of spectators once health and safety protocols allowed amid the ongoing pandemic. Now, the club is reportedly planning on expediting renovation work on the stands in order to accommodate more supporters for the crucial Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain on March 9.

Last season, Real Madrid played all their matches at the Estadio Alredo di Stefano in Valdebebas in order to allow renovation works to go at full speed at the Bernabeu. The pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to do this, since spectators were banned throughout La Liga and the smaller capacity of the Di Stefano was a non-issue. The pitch itself is an exact replica of the one at the Bernabeu, making it an ideal alternative.

This season, with fans allowed inside stadiums again, and with the pitch finally ready, matches have resumed at the Bernabeu but large portions of the lower stands are still noticeably covered during matches. However Marca reports that the club is determined to fast track renovations to ensure that it will be fans and not a trapaulin covering the Castellana stand when PSG come to visit on March 9.

The two European giants have been drawn against each other in the last 16 of the Champions League, with the first leg taking place in Paris on February 15. The crucial deciding leg will be at the Bernabeu, and those in charge of the renovations now have the task of making sure that the atmosphere will be at the most advantageous to the hosts.

Three sections were still closed off during recent matches, but with 800 workers coming to the stadium daily, a lot of progress is expected in the coming weeks. The Castellana stand is a unique challenge, with the retractable pitch mechanism located underneath. It is a gargantuan task, and safety is the top priority.

The south stand is also still barely there, with diggers and heavy equipment still often seen at work in between matchdays. Overall, the stadium will be far from finished within the next month, with a projected completion date a year away. However, priority has now been given to making more room for fans.

Parking facilities have also been improved and are already bringing in the cash to help the stadium pay for itself. Once the stadium is fully functional, more work will be done on the exterior, giving the Bernabeu a modern face lift.

Real Madrid
Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium is undergoing renovation AFP / Gabriel BOUYS