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The Grass is Greener at Real Madrid

Santiago BernabĂ©u’s pitch is looking sharp. On October 3rd the club will face Club Deportivo la Coruna on imported virgin meadow. When I found out the club had decided to change the grass after it became infested with fungus I became curious about what goes into a project like this, so I decided to look into it.

Paul Burguess is the man responsible to make sure the field is in optimal condition at the start of every game. Widely considered the best groundsman in Europe, five-time winner of the Premier League’s Best Groundskeeper of the Year, Burguess began his career at Blackpool before moving on to Arsenal F.C. at the age of 18. During his time at Arsenal he created an artificial lighting system to illuminate the areas of the field where the sun did not reach, a common problem. The success of his lighting system was such that it was quickly adopted by teams throughout Europe.

The grass for the pitch comes from an undisclosed region on the Netherlands-Germany border. It required 22 refrigerated trucks to transport it to the Spain.

Though I have not found figures on the estimated cost of the operation I did find an article that claiming that the last time the club changed the grass, December 2008, it was at a cost of 160.000 Euros. That is $218,368 U.S. at today’s exchange rate. That grass was imported from Portugal.

Via: Real Madrid