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Quique Setién’s second game in charge is a Copa del Rey fixture away to UC Ibiza (Wednesday at 7.00pm CET). It’s the first time the two clubs have ever met, so here’s some background on the Balearic Island club.
Where are they from?
Neither the island nor its main city of the same name (Eivissa in Catalan) should need much introduction. Although its resident population is just 143,856 (about a third of whom live in the capital), it receives about three million tourists a year, mainly attracted by sun, sea, sand and vibrant nightlife – mostly from the UK, followed by Italy and domestic tourists from Spain. But there is much more to Ibiza city than nightlife, and the old town was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999.
The current club, Unión Deportiva Ibiza, was founded just five years ago in 2015, but follows on from a series of different clubs dating back to 1956 that have all shared a common identity but were forced to close for financial reasons. None of these teams have ever risen above the third tier of Spanish football (Division 2B).
Estadio Can Misses was opened in 1991 and is the second largest stadium in the Balearic Islands after Mallorca’s San Moix. Also used by other Ibizan clubs, it currently holds 4,500 spectators and has a latest generation artificial surface. For this game an extra 2,000 temporary seats have been installed, and the tickets sold out in just four hours.
Competing in Group 1 of Division 2B, Ibiza are currently third behind Atlético Madrid B and Atlético Baleares and especially following an impressive 1-0 win away to Rayo Majadahonda at the weekend, they are very well poised indeed to claim one of the playoff berths and the chance to go up to Division 2A for the first time ever.
Competing in the expanded Copa del Rey for the first time, they got this far by winning 2-0 at Pontevedra and then beating Albacete on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
Head to head
This is the first time the two clubs have ever met, although Barça B have occasionally crossed paths with the club in its various guises.
The last meetings were in 2015. Barça B won 3-2 at Can Misses with goals from Botia, Gai Assulin and Longás, and won 2-0 in the Miniestadi thanks to a brace from Benja.
Barça's Balearic Islanders
Four different players from the Balearic Islands have appeared for Barça over the years:
Pere Caldentey (goalkeeper, 1952 to 1954)
Esteve Corró (defender, 1943 to 1945; and 1949 to 1950)
Joan Mas (forward, 1972 to 1973)
Miquel Àngel Nadal (defender, 1991 to 1999)
The bulk of the Ibiza team are Spaniards, but there are also three Argentinians (Mariano Gómez, Gianluca Simeone and Diego Mendoza), two Brazilians (Lucas Anacker and Raí Nascimento) and a Ghanaian (Kwasi Sibo).
Several of the players have spent time at bigger clubs. Sibo, for example, was at Watford and Alejandro Machuca was on the books at Leeds United.
Ángel Rodado is the top scorer this season with ten goals in the league.
A product of the Real Zaragoza academy, Pablo Alfaro was signed to FC Barcelona in 1992. He played 12 games and scored two goals, but failed to win a place in Johan Cruyff’s Dream Team and after one year left for Racing Santander.
It was there that he played for three seasons alongside none other than Quique Setién, which included one of Racing’s most famous achievements, the 5-0 battering of Barça.
He would go on to play over 400 games at centre back in La Liga, most notably at Sevilla, where he was captain and formed a fine partnership with Javi Navarro for several years, and is also remembered for the alarming number of times he would get sent off.
He eventually lost his place to rising youth star Sergio Ramos and retired soon after. He has since gone into management, where his positions have included Leganés and Recreativo Huelva. He took over at Ibiza at the start of this season, replacing another former Sevilla star, Andrés Palop.
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