Real Madrid's Bernabeu revamp to begin soon after end of season - Perez
Work on the delayed €525 million revamp of Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium will begin as soon as possible after the end of the season, president Florentino Perez has said.
Plans for an extensive modernisation of the Bernabeu were announced by Perez more than a decade ago, but problems with funding and planning have seen the project repeatedly pushed back.
Speaking at an event at the stadium on Tuesday, construction magnate Perez said everything was in now place for the remodelling to get under way.
"We should remember this moment in future for its transcendence -- today's event marks the start of the countdown to the beginning of our new stadium," he said.
"It will be a key project for Real Madrid and for the city, as the new stadium in the heart of Madrid will be the best stadium in the world -- the most modern, most comfortable and most secure -- and an important source of revenue for this club.
"With all the planning issues now resolved, next week we will sign a financing contract for the works.
"And in late April, the winners of a competition to carry out the construction will be announced, with the goal of beginning as soon as possible following the end of the season."
The plans include the addition of a futuristic silver steel "skin" capable of screening images, an extendable roof and larger retail, food and museum spaces.
The rebuilding work is expected to take three-and-a-half years but will not prevent the playing of games at the Bernabeu.
In November, ESPN FC reported that Madrid officials had asked for revisions to the plans, but Mayor Manuela Carmena said on Tuesday that the necessary permits were in place.
Perez appeared to confirm that his idea of selling naming rights to the rebuilt ground had been shelved, saying: "We want this to be a great digital stadium of the future, which will be paid for by the revenues which come from this reform."
In October 2014, it was proposed to finance the project by selling naming rights to Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Company, but that plan did not come to fruition.
In September, a motion to permit the board to finance the project by taking on debt up to a maximum of €575 million over a period of 30-35 years was passed at the club's AGM, with 92.7 percent of votes in favour.