Real Madrid want Bernabéu roof shut against Man City

Real Madrid have asked UEFA for permission to play Manchester City under a closed roof at the Santiago Bernabéu in an effort to boost the atmosphere for Tuesday’s Champions League quarterfinal first-leg tie against the Premier League side, sources have told ESPN.

City, who won their first Champions League title last season, are due to face Madrid for the third-successive season in the competition.

Pep Guardiola’s team drew 1-1 at the Bernabéu in last season’s semifinal first-leg and lost 3-1 in Madrid in the semifinal second-leg 12 months earlier. But after losing 5-1 on aggregate in last season’s semifinal, Madrid are now attempting to take full advantage of the retractable roof that was added to the stadium during a renovation that raised the capacity to 85,000 fans.

City sources have confirmed that Madrid have made the request to UEFA, and the decision on whether to play with a closed or opened roof will be taken at a routine pre-match technical meeting on Tuesday.

The final decision will be made by UEFA in conjunction with match referee François Letexier, with the provision that the game must end under the same conditions as it started, unless severe weather forces the roof to be either opened or closed.

Real Madrid played with the roof closed in the home leg in the round of 16 against RB Leipzig, and have regularly played home games with the roof closed in LaLiga this season.

City go into the game without injured right-back Kyle Walker, who has failed to recover from the thigh injury sustained while on international duty with England last month. Walker played a key role in nullifying the threat of Vinícius Júnior during last season’s semifinal, particularly in the 4-0 second-leg win at the Etihad, when City dominated the game and secured a memorable victory.

But with Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti saying that his side lost because of a “lack of personality,” Guardiola said the reality was that City made the Spanish giants play so poorly.

“I have huge admiration for Carlo,” Guardiola said at his pre-match news conference. “But sometimes when you have the experience, because I was in Barcelona, when Real Madrid lose it was really, really bad and they have to think that the other team was better.

“In football, it happens. That game, we were better, not because Real were bad. We made a lot of good things, but in those clubs, we are always judged as really bad and not good.

“I try to think differently. Sometimes I came here and they beat me and I can say they were better.”

Guardiola said this season’s game will be a “classic,” but a different encounter to the previous meetings.

“It looks like a classic between them and ourselves,” he said. “It’s the same managers, but we have new players and they have new players, so it will be a completely different game.

“We have a little advantage with the second leg at home where we play strong and confident, but we have to play 90 minutes here and the games are long for different reasons.

“Everybody knows the strengths from transitions they have with Rodrygo, [Jude] Bellingham, [Federico] Valverde, Vinícius.

“We cannot come here just to control the game, we have to come here to try to hurt them, to punish them, to let them know we are here to score the goals.

“We are talking about Real Madrid, their ability to control many aspects of the game, but we have to impose our game with who we are.”