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Real Madrid stadium renovation encourages anger at Manchester United takeover process

Real Madrid's stunning new renovation and redevelopment of their historic Santiago Bernabeu stadium has attracted enormous global interest, and one set of supporters in particular have responded passionately to the news.

On the morning of the Spanish giant's first home La Liga match of the 2023/24 season, Los Blancos released extraordinary drone footage of the renovated Bernabeu, which will increase its capacity from roughly 81,000 to around 84,000 upon completion. You can watch below.

Watch: Drone footage of Real Madrid's stadium upgrade

Manchester United legends and fans react to Real Madrid stadium renovation

Few club fanbases reacted with such volume as that of Manchester United, one of the few institutions who can compare to Real Madrid in finances, support and success.

Six-time Premier League winner Gary Neville, now an outspoken pundit on Sky Sports and The Overlap, tweeted: “That's how to do it!”

The former-United captain has regularly levelled criticism as the club's owners, the Glazer family, for their lack of investment.

After the Reds' last-minute defeat to Arsenal in last Sunday's Premier League fixture, Neville called it “just a game” for the Glazers.

“Man United are talking like a midtable club when it comes to the transfer market,” he said.

“Man United turn over £500m, one of the highest revenue generating clubs in the world. Chelsea, Arsenal can sign big players, Man United are scrambling around on FFP. I know they’ve had losses on Covid and that could be thrown as an excuse.

“Today was a fantastic game but it won’t change the fact that they’ve got owners of one of the biggest clubs in the world who are messing around with the football club and I’m not going to stop talking about it because it’s a massive problem.”

While Neville raised the issue of transfers in that segment, the state of United's famous Old Trafford stadium has regularly been a source of complaint amongst fans, players and pundits.

It was notable after Real Madrid's latest video how many commented on the stark contrast to the situation in Manchester.

Jim White, a writer for The Telegraph and long-time columnist for the United We Stand fanzine, predicted “only decline to look forward to under the Glazers.”

What is the latest on plans to rebuild Old Trafford?

Well, discussions about rebuilding or renovating Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium have been going on for several years.

In 2022, Legends International and Populous were appointed to provide initial assessments and planning. The latter consultants were behind the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Later in 2022, the club were presented with a variety of plans, including a refurbishment of Old Trafford and a potential new home entirely, which would likely sit on the same site in M16.

READ: Top stadium architects: Who are the most famous and renowned?

Why are Manchester United fans angry at Glazers about Old Trafford?

Aside from their long-held anger towards the Glazer family due to a raft of concerns, United fans' latest frustrations stem from the fact that any plans on Old Trafford redevelopment are effectively on hold.

This is a result of the uncertainty over a potential club takeover. United have been ‘up for sale' for nearly a full year now, the Glazers floating them on the market in November 2022.

How much might an Old Trafford rebuild cost?

It's thought that a new stadium built around the existing Old Trafford site could cost as much as £2bn. Even a refurbishment or upgrade of the current stadium may cost more than £1bn.

Real Madrid Stadium Renovation | Luka Modric takes a corner at the new Santiago Bernabeu under the retractable roof
Luka Modric takes a corner at the new Santiago Bernabeu under the retractable roof (Photo by Manu Reino/DeFodi Image/Icon Sport)

Real Madrid's renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu ground is thought to have cost in excess of €800m and potentially as much as €1bn.


Harry Robinson

A freelance writer and broadcaster, Harry has worked for or featured in/on Manchester United, FourFourTwo, The Independent, The Manchester Mill, UEFA, United We Stand and many others. He's the author of The Men Who Made Manchester United and hosts the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. A Stretford End season ticket holder, Harry travels around Europe to watch his team.

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