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The NewSLU

Snapshots of… Santiago Bernabeu

It’s different in person. Our reporter captures the mood of attending a Real Madrid game live.
Abby Langton
Fans cheer at a match between Real Madrid and Madrid rival Athletico at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid.

Exiting the Santiago Bernabéu metro station on the night of a match can present great difficulties for fans going to the stadium. As hundreds of supporters exit the station together, many find themselves shoved by fellow eager fans and stumbling over their own feet in an effort to not shove someone else. But the slight irritation one experiences while attempting to get above ground quickly fades once the stadium comes into view. 

Real Madrid, one of the most decorated football clubs in the world, draws tens of thousands of fans to every match. Tonight is no different. Real Madrid will be facing their local rival Atlético de Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarterfinal match. This evening, Madrid will become a city divided. 

With only 30 minutes until the match, hundreds of white jerseys crowd into the stadium and begin the hunt for seats. First time fans stand in front of the stairwell to take Instagram-worthy pictures with the field behind them but are quickly pushed out of the way, as panicked fans notice the players run into the locker rooms after a quick warm up. The short steps that fit only half a shoe guide anxious fans to their seats for the night. 

As a god-like voice announces the starting lineup, and a season-ticket holder rises from his seat to lead his section in chants for every player. The season-ticket holder places an emphasis on Luka Modric’s name, instructing his followers to repeat it. Fans come together to sing Modric’s name, overpowering the voice announcing the rest of the line-up. 

The leader then turns his attention to the visiting Atlético de Madrid supporters who have a small portion of the stadium to themselves. With an obvious distaste towards the traveling fans, the leader instructs his followers to ridicule the visiting team and fans alike. Seeming content with himself, the leader takes his seat as the referee blows the whistle indicating the beginning of the match. His followers sit down with him. 

Silence falls over the Bernabéu 20 minutes into the match as Morata scores, allowing Atlético to draw first blood. Away fans bounce out of their seats, screaming as loud as humanly possible to make sure their players know how pleased they are. Home fans sit with their mouths agape in shock that their defense allowed such a basic goal, a simple tap in. One man covers his eyes with his scarf, unable to watch the other side celebrate their goal. 

Half time is called, leading frantic workers to run onto the field to fix patches of grass that have been torn up by the players and their now-dull cleats. Water sprays the field operating alongside the employees to ensure that the pitch is ready for the second half. Disappointed fans rush to grab a quick snack before the players return, hoping a comeback is in the near future. In the 70th minute Rodrygo scores, leveling the game, leading the match into added time. 

The angst in the air is tangible. The winner will be known soon, but for now the match is tied. The players are visibly agitated, both sides hungry for more. Multiple short-lived scuffles break out, one the result of the referee issuing a red card to Stefan Savic, an Atlético player. Home fans wave enthusiastically as he exits the pitch,  while visiting fans bow their heads, realizing they will now be one player down. 

The face of Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, breaks the tie. It’s 2-1. Supporters are on the verge of tears knowing how close they are to advancing to the semifinals. Less than 20 minutes remain: the end is near. Atlético works their way down the field, almost capitalizing on one final opportunity, but their efforts fail. The ball falls to Vini Jr., who runs down the field and successfully places the ball into the net. 3-1. The stadium erupts. While the whistle has yet to be blown, the match is over. With only two minutes remaining, Atlético has little chance to make a last minute comeback. Visiting fans begin to exit the stands as home fans sing them a song goodbye. 

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About the Contributor
Abby Langton
Abby Langton, Editor-in-Chief
Abby Langton, a senior and communication major, is the Editor-in-Chief of The NewSLU. She has covered hard news, features and sports.

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