Most football fans that are considering a trip to the Spanish capital will fall into one of two categories. There will be those that want to visit the tourist hot spots of Madrid and possibly take in a game of football and those that must go to watch Real Madrid and possibly visit a few other places of note whilst you are there. Both types of visit can be hugely enjoyable but with a place like Madrid they really do need to be planned well in advance in order to get the most from the limited time that you have in this enchanting city.
Why Watch Real Madrid?
If you love your football then it really is a no brainer. You simply must get to a Real Madrid game whilst in town. Along with Barcelona they possess the most expensively-assembled side in the world. And the world is a pretty big place. Now I know that spending big doesn’t always guarantee you a great football performance or a superb victory but any visit to a Madrid match is about so much more than just watching ninety minutes of football. What you will get is the opportunity to watch some of the greatest footballers playing the game today in the flesh.
The likes of Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are already football legends but you will get to see up and coming players who will over the course of the next decade be on the lips of football pundits all over the world. Players such as Karim Benzema and Raphaël Varane have been at Madrid for a while and have established their credentials already but the club have been adding to their “Galácticos” over this last summer in a big way. The biggest signing of course is that of Tottenham Hotspurs Gareth Bale – a mere snip at just €94m but less noisily they also picked up Asier Illarramendi from Real Sociedad for €32.2m and Isco from Malaga for €30m. Bale is still only 24 years old, Illarramendi 23 years old and Isco a real youngster at 21. These players will form the backbone of the side for years to come and will no doubt be added to in the next few years. The idea of the Galácticos may date back to the 1950’s but it shows no sign of being forgotten.
Plan Your Trip Ahead
If you do want to see Real Madrid play most of you will just want to go to a match, watch the ninety minutes and come away having enjoyed your day. But with a little bit of thought and planning you can get so much more from your experience, take a little time to work out what you want from your time in Madrid and organise your visit to get the most from the time you have available to you. By doing this you will get a thorough experience with a lifetime of memories rather than just the match.
Madridista International Card
Once you know the dates of your time in Madrid and the game or games you want to watch I’d really recommend looking into the benefits of becoming a club member. Even if you are not a die hard fan of the club it could prove to be a good move financially particularly if you are combining the football with visiting other tourist sights in Madrid.
What to Consider
As a first step I would just get registered at realmadrid.com and have a look around the website. The section which will be of the most interest if you are going to a game is the part for “Madridistas” where you can decide if being a Madridista International Card Holder is for you or not. Do this before buying your tickets for the game. There are various prices which give different levels of benefits. They range from €30 to €65 with the more expensive options basically “giving you” items such as a Welcome Pack, quarterly hard copies of the club magazine – Hala Madrid – and a loyalty prize (i.e. a club scarf). Of course by paying the higher rate you’ve in effect just bought these things but you do get them at a preferential rate. The Welcome pack includes signed photos of some players, a pin badge and a poster so is really geared towards junior fans of the club.
Great Discounts Available
Most of us would opt for the cheapest option at €30. For this price you will get a discount of up to 10% on club purchases over the internet and also generous discounts when visiting the clubs official stores in Madrid. One of the best benefits is a very nice discount of €6 off the price of the Stadium Tour making it a very affordable €13 for adults. If you are a junior Madridista you’ll receive €4 off the normal price of €13. You will also get a discount on tickets should you want to see Real Madrid’s basketball team. If you are spending some time in the city then potentially the best benefit is the special offers available at more than 2.500 different companies linked to the club. Just by holding your Madridista card you will have access to promotions and discount on fashion, entertainment, shows, theme parks, restaurants, holidays and much more. This is where you can make the cost of the card pay for itself. This will also be there for you on return visits to Spain even if you are not always going to a match.
Buy Your Tickets
Long after your holiday and matchday experience you will still receive regular e mail newsletters, be entered into competitions with monthly prizes to be won and receive the “Hala Madrid” magazine via e mail. As a Madridista International Card holder you also get priority access to the Bernabéu. So give the club a call at least one month before your visit to reserve and buy your ticket and get the most from your membership.
How to Get The Most From Your Membership
Although the membership isn’t cheap at €30 you really can with a little bit of thought make it work for you. By the time you’ve had the guided tour, taken in a game, bought a few bits and pieces in the club shop and visited a few of the connected retailers, tourist sites or theme parks in Madrid during the rest of your stay you’ll find that it may well have saved you a pretty penny. And of top of this you’ll be kept in the loop for the rest of the year as a full member of the club. Like most schemes of this type if you just want to take in a game then it’s probably not for you but if you are a fan of the club then it can be a great way to feel part of the club, make new friends who also mad about the team and save some money.
Match Day Ticket Prices
The ticket prices for a game are on a par with those charged by leading sides in the Premier League. Typically you are looking at €49 to €75 for the cheapest tickets, €65 to €95 for the majority of ordinary seated positions and €129 to €155 for the best seats in the house. If you want to go and watch “el clasico” against Barcelona then I’d consider getting a second mortgage out in preparation. Prices for this game are very high and this season were around the €450 mark for the cheapest seats in the house. Watching in style would put you back up to €730. Check out the tickets section on this website for an accurate up to the minute price. Do consider going to see a Champions League match when in Madrid. These can be a good way to get to see a game since not all the teams that Madrid may face are box office hits and the take up for these games can sometimes lead to empty seats at such a large stadium. The likes of Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen don’t tend to inspire too many excited gulps in the mouth if you are a Madridista.
Seating in the Bernabéu
When considering a trip to the Bernabéu you will be faced with these three seating choices. They are split into categories 1, 2 and 3. Category 1 tickets are the best seats in the stadium and are basically the ones lower down and to the sides of the pitch. Category 2 tickets are those lower down and behind each goalmouth or up higher and to the sides. The last batch of tickets Category 3, are the cheapest ones but not the most plentiful. If you opt for this ticket then you will find yourself up in the gods right at the back and behind the goals. It should be pointed out here though that no seating position at the Bernabéu is bad and the experience can be just as much fun from a vantage point far away from pitch side.
Create Those Lifetime Memories
To summarise, I’d certainly consider taking membership of the club before turning up for a game. Plan ahead and you’ll have a greater experience of your time in Madrid. When in Madrid visit the club shop as early as possible before the match, maybe taking in a stadium tour a day or two prior to matchday. Get acquainted with where the stadium is located and places you want to visit. Before the match consider getting to the ground early, you’ve already bought the tickets so have a coffee in one of their restaurants and really sample the atmosphere as it builds up in the hours and minutes before kick off. Experience and enjoy every moment of what will be a truly memorable time at Real Madrid Football Club.