Great Britain

Why are Real Madrid playing Valencia at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, and when will they return to the Bernabeu?

REAL MADRID made their long-awaited return to La Liga action tonight against Eibar in the Spanish capital.

Zinedine Zidane's side are locked in a pulsating title race with Barcelona and kicked off with a 3-1 win in their bid to end the Catalan giants' two-year grip on the trophy.

The remainder of the campaign is being played behind closed doors as the country moves out of coronavirus lockdown - and Real won't be appearing at their iconic Bernabeu home.

Why are Real playing at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium?

You may notice when Zidane's side take to the field that their temporary new home isn't as grand as their usual surroundings.

The Bernabeu was set to undergo renovation works over the summer which had been planned by the club for some time.

But with the coronavirus outbreak meaning fans are unable to attend games for the foreseeable future, Real applied instead to stage games at their reverse team base.

This is to allow them to begin their £500million redevelopment of the Bernabeu early, which will see a retractable roof, a 360-degree video screen that goes around the entire ground and build spacious leisure and entertainment facilities.

The Alfredo Di Stefano pitch will have a very familiar feel being the exact same pitch dimensions as the Bernabeu.

But that's where most of the similarities end, with the overall capacity of the ground just 6,000.

That's a far cry from their usual iconic home, which has space for 80,243 Madrid supporters.

The multi-purpose stadium is currently the home of Madrid's Castilla team, who play their matches in Segunda Division B - Group 1.

From next season, Real Madrid women's team will play at the complex.

When are they moving back to the Bernabeu?

With renovation work started early, the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium is a convenient quick fix for the La Liga giants.

They will face Eibar, Valencia, Mallorca, Getafe, Alaves and Villarreal here before the end of the domestic season.

If Madrid make it past Man City in the Champions League, it remains to be seen where a potential semi final would be held - although a neutral venue is likely.

Madrid chiefs hope to return to the Bernabeu for the start of next season, with the work set to be completed earlier in the summer than originally planned.

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