Lowest turnout at Santiago Bernabeu in 9 years as Real Madrid start new season

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Madrid, Aug 20 (IANS) Real Madrid may have defeated Getafe 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Sunday night in their first game of the new Liga Santander season, but it seems fair to say that the side have so far failed to capture the imagination of their fans.

Just 48,466 supporters turned up at the 81,044 capacity stadium to watch goals from Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale give Julen Lopetegui’s side a win to help them forget Wednesday’s defeat to Atletico Madrid in the European Supercup, reports Xinhua news agency.

It is the lowest turnout for a league match at the Bernabeu since a 3-1 win against Mallorca at the end of the 2008-9 season.

That game nine years ago was the last match before Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at the club from Manchester United, while Sunday’s was the first since Ronaldo left to join Juventus in July.

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There are probably other factors beyond Ronaldo’s departure behind the low turnout, such as the failure to sign a big-name replacement for the Portuguese, leaving Lopetegui to compete with a squad which doesn’t look as strong as that which finished third in La Liga last season.

The fact the match was played in August at the height of the holiday season also didn’t help, with many season ticket holders likely to be away from Madrid, while the 22:15 kick off time was hardly helpful for fans who had to work on Monday morning.

FC Barcelona also suffered a low turnout in their first league match of the new season, with just 52,350 supporters in their 99,350 capacity Camp Nou stadium on Saturday night.

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–IANS

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