Controversy with the AT&T pitch before El Clasico: Why don't they think about the physical safety of the footballers?

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Pre-season preparations are continuing and Real Madrid will take on Barcelona on Saturday night at the AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

But, there is controversy over the state of the pitch at the venue that could host the 2026 World Cup final.

The problem lies in a very common practice in the NFL, which is replacing natural grass with a synthetic blend.

The most modern stadiums in the United States have long been replacing their playing surfaces to improve team performance and reduce costs.

According to facility caretakers, synthetic grass has greater strength and durability in cold weather. It offers a more stable surface, which reduces the chance of injury and improves athlete performance.

The turf can be rolled up and stored in the bowels of the stadium for concerts, rodeos, motocross races or other events.

The home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys is one of the stadiums that hosts the most soccer games in the state of Texas thanks to its capacity and a retractable roof that allows games to be played despite the high temperatures.

However, the crux of the matter is when they have to install natural grass for the practice of a sport at its highest level that cannot be understood without this compound. Synthetic imitates the look, but the feel is completely different.

The transfer of the pitch to the stadium has been the trigger for all the controversy.

"It's a 10 to 12-hour drive from a farm in Georgia to bring the turf and a problem for a Gold Cup game was a brutal downpour of water that fell the day before the transfer," MARCA was told.

"One part arrived in bad condition and the other could not even be used."

WATCH - The "new" NRG Stadium irrigation systemMarca English

To solve the problem, the AT&T Stadium has repeated the formula of Real Madrid's last match against Manchester United at the NRG Stadium.

In addition to the state of the grass, there are the irrigation problems that all stadiums with synthetic turf suffer from.

As it does not require excessive care and irrigation is minimal, the stadium does not have the right facilities to carry out the necessary watering.

At the NRG Stadium, the spotlight was taken by the manual irrigation in which up to 12 workers were involved for each part of the pitch: some held the hose and the head of the architectural work was dedicated to watering every centimeter of the pitch.

It was a process that took them 10 minutes to produce an image never seen before in a stadium that has all kinds of luxuries.

For the Clasico, the system will be the same, as could be seen in Real Madrid's first training session.

"The turf is the same supplier as the one in Houston", they concluded.

However, the state of the pitch on the first day of training for Carlo Ancelotti's men left something to be desired... just a day before the Clasico.

A stadium that wants to host the World Cup final

The situation is dire for a stadium that cannot make any more mistakes if it wants to host the World Cup final in 2026.

"Sometimes we have to play in stadiums that are chosen more for their capacity than for the pitch," Memo Ochoa said ahead of Mexico vs Panama.

"Sometimes they have more paint than grass, we hope they have optimal conditions for a final."

Criticism ahead of the Gold Cup game

"The state of the pitch in this stadium is already bordering on the ridiculous, and this is where they want to host the World Cup final?" criticized ESPN journalist Mauricio Ymay with a video of the state of the pitch before a Gold Cup game.

That view was shared by others, such as journalist Rodolfo Landeros.

"Why don't they think about the physical safety of the footballers?" he asked.

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