Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

Real Madrid secure $650 million loan to fund stadium renovations

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Real Madrid can begin renovations on its 71-year-old Santiago Bernabeu stadium this summer after securing approval for the project’s funding.

[READ: JPW’s Premier League picks]

The Spanish giants announced in a press release that the Real Madrid board of directors approved a $650 million loan to finance a massive renovation project to the club’s home stadium in the heart of Madrid. It’s unclear in the press release when the renovations will be completed.

Starting in 2023 until 2049, Real Madrid will pay $33.4 million in debt payments to pay back the loan with a very low, 2.5 percent interest rate. The low interest rate was part of the reason why Real Madrid president Florentino Perez pushed for this deal, Perez remarked in the past. In addition, Real Madrid projects the new renovations will bring in an additional $170 million in revenue, which would more than cover the debt costs.

Originally announced publicly in September 2018, the renovations will add a new steel facade around the stadium, a retractable roof over the field plus a permanent roof over the fans in the seats, as well as other technological upgrades. The club will also be able to expand its club shop and club museum.

Part of Real Madrid’s motivation to complete the renovations was likely, along with good financial conditions, the fact that Barcelona is undergoing its own renovations at the Camp Nou which will also bring that stadium into the 21st century. In addition, Atletico Madrid just opened across town the brand-new Wanda Metropolitana Stadium.

Reaction, Jose Mourinho edition: Real Madrid coach on Tuesday defeat, future

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ShIHb3kY3CI%5D

Of course, José Mourinho was vaulted center stage after today’s elimination at the Santiago Bernabéu. With his future up in the air and his team out of Champions League, it was natural for the media to prod about The Special One’s future, even if the English press as somewhat obsessive about it.

Well, most of the English press. As you’ll see above, ITV’s Gabriel Clarke, undoubtedly being pestered by a director’s mandates in his ear, cuts off Mourinho just as it appears the Real Madrid boss is ready to confess what we all suspect: He will leave Real Madrid, return to England, and again take up the post at Stamford Bridge.

I mean, why would you want to let Mourinho keep blithering in that situation? And can have the story-of-the-season revealed like on your broadcast? No time for that gobbledygook!

Here are some other highlights from Mourinho’s post-match reaction – reaction given to the media but mostly poached from UEFA.com, ITV, and the Twitter feeds of Trancedi Palmeri and Dermot Corrigan:

“My players have given everything. We were close. If we had scored earlier, we would have had more opportunities. The Bernabéu [crowd] was fantastic, they believed until the end, but we couldn’t do it.” — Mourinho

“I’m very disappointed with one of my favorite refs in the world.” — Mourinho, to ITV

“[I’m] disappointed [with] Webb, it was a red for Hummels but at that moment he thought like a human and not a ref, didn’t want him to miss final.” — Mourinho to ITV

“Maybe not. I want to be where people love me to be.” — Mourinho, to ITV, asked if he’ll be back at Real Madrid

“It is tough to decide because I like [Real Madrid] and the President. We made a fantastic team ready to make big things, so it is hard.” — Mourinho

“Any person at Real Madrid, for one day, it was worth it. Anyone who can say they’ve been at biggest and most important club in world.” — Mourinho

“Very close is not good enough for Madrid. Or for me.” — Mourinho

“I have a contract at Madrid. But contracts are broken when people want. But I’ve respect for (the) president. I know I’m loved in England, by fans, media that treats me fairly. Criticizing me when they must, but giving credit when deserved.” — Mourinho

“In Spain the situation is a bit different, because some people hate me. Many of you are in this room.”— Mourinho

“I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one.” — Mourinho

“We’ll take that as England. I’ve got to go! — Gabriel Clarke

Champions League teams make big changes for weekend matches

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With most domestic races in Europe long decided, it’s interesting to note the huge changes Champions League teams made in league action. Six of the eight teams chancing the European Cup made seven changes on Saturday. Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich was one of two teams to keep over half their lineup in place, making only five changes, while Turkish leaders Galatasaray returned seven players who started Wednesday’s match at the Santiago Bernabeu.

For a veteran team like Juventus, the changes are necessary. An aging squad can’t play three games in nine days (which is why it was so curious that Antonio Conte started a full-strength team last Saturday at Inter Milan). For teams with younger legs, there are two schools of thought. You don’t want to do anything to disrupt whatever rhythm or momentum your team’s built; however, fatigue and injury have to be considered. If you’re facing struggling opposition in a game that won’t influence your league fortunes, the benefits of maintaining a routine don’t outweigh using caution.

Some of this weekend’s moves were forced by fitness. After a mid-week injury, Toni Kroos is out for much of the rest of the season, as is Javier Mascherano. Lionel Messi, a doubt for Wednesday against Paris Saint-Germain, was out this weekend.

Here are the ins and outs for each team on Saturday. Players in italics came on as substitutes:

Changes Club Out In
7 Barcelona

in progress

Jordi Alba
Sergio Busquets
Xavi Hernandez
Javier Mascherano
Lionel Messi
David Villa
Victor Valdes
Thiago Alcantera
Marc Barta
Cesc Fabregas
Martin Montoya
Pedro Pinto
Alexander Song
Cristian Tello
Borussia Dortmund

won vs. Augsburg, 4-2

Mario Gotze
Ilkay Gundogan
Sebastian Kehl
Robert Lewandowski
Lukasz Piszczek
Marco Reus
Roman Weinfeller
Sven Bender
Leonardo Bittebcourt
Jonas Hofmann
Moritz Leitner
Nuri Sahin
Julian Schieber
Marcel Schmelzer
Juventus

won vs. Pescara, 2-1

Andrea Barzagli
Gianluigi Buffon
Giorgio Chiellini
Claudio Marchisio
Alessandro Matri
Andrea Pirlo
Fabio Quagliarella</td>
Kwadwo Asamoah
Emanuele Giaccherini
Sebastian Giovinco
Luca Marrone
Poul Pogba
Marco Storari
Mirko Vucinic
Málaga

lost at Real Sociedad, 4-2

Julio Baptista
Willy Caballero
Martin Demichelis
Isco
Joaquin
Javier Saviola
Jeremy Toulalan
Ignacio Camacho
Sebastian Fernández
Carlos Kameni
Diego Lugano
Pedro Morales
Francisco Portillo
Roque Santa Cruz
Paris Saint-Germain

won at Rennes, 2-0

Alex
David Beckham
Christophe Jallet
Ezequiel Lavezzi
Lucas Moura
Javier Pastore
Thiago Silva
Zoumana Camara
Clement Chantome
Kevin Gameiro
Jeremy Menez
Mamadou Sahko
Marco Veratti
Gregory van der Wiel
Real Madrid

won vs. Levante, 5-1

Fabio Coentrao
Angel Di Maria
Michael Essien
Sami Khedira
Mesut Ozil
Cristiano Ronaldo
Raphael Varane
Alvaro Arbeloa
José Callejon
Gonzalo Higuain
Kaka
Marcelo
Luka Modric
Pepe
5 Bayern Munich

won at Eintracht Frankfurt, 1-0

Luiz Gustavo
Toni Kroos
Mario Mandzukic
Franck Ribery
Daniel van Buyten
Jerome Boateng
Mario Gomez
Xavi Martinez
Arjen Robben
Xherdan Shaqiri
4 Galatasaray

won vs. Mersin Idmanyurdu, 3-1

Emmanuel Eboue
Selcuk Inan
Semik Kaya
Albert Riera
Hakan Balta
Emre Colak
Sabri Sarioglu
Gokhan Zan