Zinedine Zidane has responded to Jurgen Klopp’s criticism of Real Madrid’s Alfredo di Stefano stadium, calling it “a testing ground” in comparison to “a true stadium” like Anfield.
On Tuesday night, Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal at the 6,000-seater stadium, with Vinicius Junior scoring twice.
“We’re clearly used to empty stadiums, but this is totally new. This is a practice field… It’s unlike something else we’ve ever seen,” Klopp said before the game.
Zidane Response To Klopps Criticism
When asked about it in a post-match press conference, Zidane stood firm. He said proudly, “This is our arena. We play here and are honored to do so at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano.”
Since June last year, when La Liga resumed after a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Real Madrid has been playing at the Di Stefano. It is part of the Real Madrid City training complex on the outskirts of the Spanish capital and is currently home to their B-team Castilla.
Their most recent match at the Bernabeu was a 2-0 El Clasico victory over Barcelona on March 1, 2020.
The Bernabeu is undertaking a €500 million redevelopment program. It involves a roof and a retractable pitch, which is not scheduled to be finished until the 2022-23 season.
According to the club, the pitch dimensions and playing surface condition at the Alfredo di Stefano are similar. They are the same as at the Bernabeu.
“It must be a very tough job for Real Madrid at Anfield. With or without fans,” Klopp said after the 3-1 loss. “This was very odd, very complicated, a new scenario with the stadium tonight. Anfield is at least a proper stadium, which would be beneficial to us.”
Since meeting Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday, Madrid heads to Anfield for the second leg next Wednesday. The club has only ever faced Liverpool at Anfield twice. They were thrashed 4-0 in the round of 16 in March 2009. With Steven Gerrard scoring a brace for Rafa Benitez’s side, who advanced 5-0 on aggregate. However, in the 2014-15 group round, Madrid beat Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool 3-0, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema scoring.