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Microsoft Reportedly Pulls out of Talks to Rename Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 18: Aerial view of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium  the Primera Liga match between Real Madrid and Racing Santander on November 18, 2006 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Leigh WalshCorrespondent INovember 18, 2013

The home of Real Madrid, for now at least, will remain named in honour of the club’s former president, Santiago Bernabeu. 

According to Antena 3 channel, per Football Espana, the American company Microsoft was in negotiations with the nine-time European champions to change the name of the historic landmark.

Maria Garana, the president of the Spanish sector of the company, which was founded by Bill Gates, confirmed as recently as two weeks ago that talks for the renaming of the 85,000-seat arena were taking place. 

However, it now appears that Microsoft has distanced itself from Garana’s comments, in a report delivered by AS via Football Espana.

Garana said that while the relationship between Los Blancos and Microsoft is excellent, there is “no possibility” that the software company will purchase the naming rights at the Bernabeu.

The primary relationship between Microsoft—ranked No. 41 on Forbes’ list of the world’s biggest public companies—and one of the world’s most iconic football clubs is in “technology and innovation,” says Garana.  

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 02:  Gareth Bale greets president Florentino Perez during his presentation as a new Real Madrid player at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 2, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Madrid president Florentino Perez announced plans to renovate the Bernabeu—which has been Real Madrid's home since 1947—in October of last year, according to the Daily Mail. And in October of this year, Perez made clear his intentions to sell the name of the club as he looked to generate funds for the expensive project—per Alex Richards in the Daily Mirror—which is expected to get underway next summer. 

Per Richards, Perez said: "We are working on a sponsor. We are on with it. At best the stadium will have a name added to it if we can find one."

As talks with Microsoft appear to be cooling, Emirates has now emerged as a front-runner to be granted naming rights, according to the Football Espana article. 

The Dubai-based airline secured the naming rights at Arsenal after the Gunners moved from their old home at Highbury. 

Talk of the Bernabeu being rebranded is just the latest example of European football clubs following the trend set by American sports franchises.

Newcastle United changed their name to the Sports Direct Arena in 2011, before reverting back to St. James' Park for the 2012/13 season after fans made their disgust known to the club's hierarchy—per BBC Sport.

Current European champions Bayern Munich (Allianz Arena) and Manchester City (Etihad Stadium) are two other examples of those that put their name up for sale.   

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