The pitch at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu home can be cultivated from a high-tech control room several kilometres away at its Valdebebas training base.
The man in charge of the advanced software computer system, which provides detailed information including the length of the hybrid turf to the nearest millimetre, is Englishman Paul Burgess.
Los Blancos’ director of grounds and environment monitors the status of all the club’s pitches – the Bernabeu, the Alfredo di Stefano turf of reserve side Real Madrid Castilla and 11 training pitches – across six computer screens.
He can order cuts by section and control anti-frost heat lamps for grassy areas that are not given enough exposure to sunlight at certain times of the year. In an extreme case, he would be able to quickly react if a lightning bolt were to strike the turf.
Tough day at the office but quick turnaround and away we go again on Wednesday, very cold nights this week pic.twitter.com/ZlaJEfIejI
— Paul Burgess (@paul_pburgess) January 6, 2019
Burgess began his career at English club Blackpool and moved to Arsenal, where he helped design the Emirates Stadium to ensure optimal grass-growing conditions and won five Premier League groundsman of the year awards.
Now almost a decade into his job at the Bernabeu, he also oversees the hybrid turf growing in Arevalo, a town located 125 kilometres from Madrid, which will be transported to the Spanish capital in the summer to become the Liga giant’s pitch for next season.