Why are Real Madrid playing at a training ground? Champions League tie with Chelsea was not played at Bernabeu

Madrid’s Champions League semi-final first leg draw with Chelsea was played in a different stadium than normal for the home team

Eagle-eyed viewers of Real Madrid’s Champions League semi-final first leg tie with Chelsea spotted the match wasn’t being played at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Instead of their iconic home ground, Madrid hosted the first part of the last four encounter against Chelsea in a different stadium to what TV audiences were expecting.

On the pitch Christian Pulisic gave the hosts a fright when he put Chelsea, under the guise of Thomas Tuchel, ahead before Karim Benzema levelled for Zinedine Zidane's Real.

The Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Chelsea took place at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic: PA)
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Here’s where the match took place, why and when Real will make a return to the Bernabeu.

Where did Real Madrid v Chelsea take place?

The Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Chelsea took place at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

The Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano is a smaller ground than the Bernabeu and is the main pitch at Real Madrid’s training complex.

It is the usual home of the club’s second team, Real Madrid Castilla, and has capacity to hold up to 6,000 fans at any one time.

Fans are still not allowed to attend football matches under Covid rules in England and Spain.

Where are Real Madrid playing home matches this season?

Zidane’s first team of all stars have been playing their home matches at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano since June 2020.

It has already helped Madrid on their march to last season’s La Liga title - the club’s 34th domestic league championship.

Real are currently second in the La Liga table, level on points with Barcelona, and two points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid.

Why aren’t Real Madrid playing at the Bernabeu?

Real brought forward plans to continue its renovation of the iconic 80,00-seater stadium during the Covid pandemic while fans aren’t permitted to attend matches.

An extensive overhaul of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium will see a completely new exterior and a retractable roof when it is completed - and cost in the region of £500 million.

The stadium will be wrapped in 360 degrees of screens and the site will include new stores, a restaurant and a hotel to enhance the matchday experience for supporters.

Real president Florentino Perez said: “Our future naturally involves a new Santiago Bernabeu stadium, a reference of the 21st century.

“A modern, avant-garde stadium, with maximum comfort and safety, with state-of-the-art technology, where fans can experience unique sensations and also be a new and important source of income for the club.”

The new-look Bernabeu is expected to be completed in the summer of 2022.

When is the second leg of Real Madrid v Chelsea?

The second leg of the Champions League semi-final tie between Real Madrid and Chelsea will take place on Wednesday 5 May (8pm kick off) at Stamford Bridge.

Tuchel will have been satisfied with his side's performance from the first leg where they were good value for a draw and scored a crucial away goal.

Both sides will be playing for a place in the final against either Manchester City or Paris St-Germain in Istanbul on 29 May.

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