- Copy link
On Sunday at 9pm CEST, FC Barcelona will be looking to continue their strong start to the 2023/24 season with a game away to Granada. Time to check in on the red-and-whites…
With a population of around 470,000 people, the beautiful Andalusian city of Granada sits beneath the Sierra Nevada, about an hour by car from the Mediterranean coast, and is a popular destination for students and tourists alike. Its most famous monument is the Alhambra, an Arab citadel and palace.
Granada Club de Fútbol was founded in 1931, and its greatest achievement was reaching the cup final in 1959, which it lost 4-1 to Barça. But towards the end of the century, the club declined, and when Granada finally won promotion back into La Liga in 2011, it was their first appearance in the top flight for 35 years.
In 2019/20, the Nazaríes (the nickname comes from the Moorish dynasty that ruled Granada in the Middle Ages) finished 7th, their best position since 1974, and the prize was qualification for Europe for the first time in club history. The marched all the way to the quarter finals of the Europa League, eventually going out to Manchester United. Three seasons after those dizzy heights, they were back in the second division, but have bounced straight back up to join the big boys once again in 2023/24.
The 19,336 capacity Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes was opened in 1995 and although it is on a different site to the former Los Cármenes, it has retained the name, which refers to the typical villas with gardens.
Head to head
Barça have not traditionally had too much trouble in games against Granada, but recent meetings have been exceptions to the rule, with Barça failing to win any of the last three meetings.
And the one before that, a dramatic Copa del Rey quarter final in 2021, required extra time after two extremely late goals from Griezmann and Jordi Alba nicked a draw before the regulation 90 minutes were up.
Two months later, Granada, who had never so much as drawn at Camp Nou, claimed a shock 2-1 win in the Catalan capital, a result that practically ended all hope of a blaugrana league title.
And although they were relegated in 2021/22, Granada did go down knowing that they had managed to draw 1-1 both home and away against Barça.
Last five meetings
08/01/22 Granada 1-1 Barça
20/09/21 Barça 1-1 Granada
29/04/21 Barça 1-2 Granada
03/02/21 (Copa del Rey) Granada 3-5 Barça
09/01/21 Granada 0-4 Barça
Granada's return to La Liga has not got off to the most promising of starts. They only have one win to their name so far, a 3-2 defeat of Mallorca, having lost the other five of their six opening fixtures.
Their seventh and eighth games finally saw them add to their their points total with a couple of draws against fellow Andalusian sides. They drew 1-1 at home to Betis and last week produced a spectacular comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 in Almeria in a clash between the two sides currently propping up the table.
Players with international caps
Shon Weissman (Israel, 30), Myrto Uzuni (Albania, 29), Famara Diédhiou (Senegal, 27), José Callejón (Spain, 5), Lucas Boyé (Argentina, 1), Gonzalo Villar (Spain, 1)
Right back Ricard Sánchez spent four years of his youth at La Masia, although it was at Atlético Madrid that he completed his development.
Fellow defender Ignasi Miquel also spent several years in the Barça youth system. He was then at an extraordinary number of different clubs in England and Spain, but now seems to be settled nicely into life at Granada.
In his one year with Barça B, winger Alberto Perea was a regular starter, but was snapped up by Cadiz at the end of the campaign.
Perea played for Barça B alongside defensive midfielder Gerard Gumbau (pictured below) who also played three times for the Barça first team. Gumbau came to Granada following spells with Leganés, Girona and Elche.
Paco López played most of his football in the second and third tiers in and around Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain, and that is also where he gained the bulk of his managerial experience following retirement. After working in development teams at the likes of Valencia, Villarreal and Benidorm, it was at Levante where he made his name, where his first game in charge in 20018 was the 5-4 defeat of Barça that put a late end to the dream of completing a season unbeaten.
Despite some fine achievements at Levante, when the team declined they parted ways and López ended up taking the Granada job last season. And he guided the team to the second division title, but life in La Liga is proving to be a far more difficult ride.
- Copy link