There's never been a more talented, glamorous club than Real Madrid,
overflowing with class, oozing panache, gliding its way to one
fantasy-filled victory after another, delighting its fans, melting the
hearts of purists and wowing the neutral.
Only it doesn't always work like that: despite all the successes, the
protesting hankies are often out at the Bernabeu, and the rest of Spain
loves it. But it does not stop the fans flooding in. Madrid have
consistently sold out for four years; the Bernabeu has become the
weekend destination for EasyJet-loads of Brits. The difficulty, of
course, is tickets and for Barça and Atletico you can forget it – except
via the gleeful, impossible-to-miss touts.
Officially, tickets – snapped up by members and peñas – sometimes
don't even go on sale. For all other matches, tickets go on general sale
from six days before the match through the club's infuriating and far
from clear automated hotline (0034 902 234 234).
For the wow-factor and an appreciation of just how immense, and
steep, the Bernabeu is, go for the tercer anfiteatro; to get closer to
the action, go for the grada or (expensive) tribuna, although you'll
probably have to take what's left or go back to that tout. Early
Champions League matches and Copa del Rey games still rarely sell out,
Surrounded by countless bars (although the Ultra Sur hangouts off
Concha Espina are best avoided), there's always atmosphere outside the
ground. You may well be surprised by the lack of it inside, though, as
most fans sit back in silence and wait to be entertained. Sure, it can
be amazing on European nights and when Barcelona visit but all too
often, the biggest noise is the collective tin foil tearing at
half-time. Then again, you're still watching some of the best players in
The magnificent Santiago Bernabeu, towering vertically into the sky,
is on the Castellana, Madrid's central avenue. But it's a long, long
central avenue and a good 35 minutes' walk from the city centre.
Fortunately, countless buses, including the 27, drop you right outside
from Cibeles, while the Santiago Bernabeu Metro station (on the recently
revamped, fast and modern line 10) is on the doorstep.
Club address C/Concha Espina, 1, 28036
Telephone (0034) 913 984 300
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