Soccer

Diving Deep into the Mediterranean: UD Ibiza’s Rapid Rise


Ibiza is often described as a millionaire’s playboy paradise, a scenic marvel and a house music pilgrimage, but a footballing haven? Not a chance at all.  Although over the past few seasons with some heavy investment, Union Deportivo Ibiza Eivissa are rapidly rising through Spain’s lower divisions. Currently sat top of the table in the Segunda B, Ibiza are in fine form both home and away, only drawing one game and powering on unbeaten. Last season the sky blues made the play-offs, however it was fellow Ibizan islanders Sporting Club Deportivo Pena who would advance, only to lose in the final game to CD Castellon.

'Ibiza is a sporting entity that is formed by people of hugely different backgrounds, languages and upbringings' the club announced in a statement after expelling their academy ball boys

Draped in ocean sky blue it is quite easy to see the appeal of football in Ibiza. Glorious year-round sunshine with the world’s best nightlife at your doorstep. Whilst this is most managers worst nightmare; Ibiza is a different world and a different culture who embrace to party atmosphere, as do the passionate local fans. Reborn and reinstated into the Spanish footballing pyramid, the small club on the island only spent two years in the regional leagues before competing in the Terecea Divisions.  Ibiza breezed their way into the playoff places in the 2017/2018 campaign and were duly promoted to the professional tiers of the Spanish Leagues.

Breaking their selves into the Segunda B league their first season saw them place 6th. Racking up a total of 63 points including 17 wins meant CD Badajoz, African territory UD Melilla and both Andalusian sides FC Cartagena and Recretivo de Huelva would advance to the playoff rounds. Before the 2018/2019 campaign Ibiza signed potentially their biggest star to date, Italian centre forward Marco Borriello. Alongside the former Juventus striker Ibiza would go on to practically raid RCD Mallorca and bring in 4 players to bolster the squad in a bid for promotion. Playing alongside most of La Liga’s reserve clubs Ibiza finished second behind fellow Balearic outfit Atletico Baleares. With 58 points and Pena Deportivo on 45 points they cemented their places in the playoff rounds, although Catalan side UE Cornella would end their promotion hopes with a 2-1 victory against the sky blues.

Currently UD Ibiza is owned by the Salvo family, looking to attract more attention to the club their home stadium Can Misses was renovated to a 4,000-seater stadium in the outskirts of Ibiza Town. During the 2019/2020 campaign Ibiza progressed to the last 32 of the Copa Del Rey, and the lucky opponents would be non-other than title holders FC Barcelona.

Opening the game in true Ibiza fashion with a DJ set and some strobe lights, it would be the football that would be the attraction as the 3rd Tier side held the Champions until only the last 20 minutes of the game, where Antoine Greizmann would score a brace. Ibiza continue to push for promotion and grow their brand of football, currently sitting top of the league and attracting many players from across Spain. Soon enough Ibiza could be rubbing shoulders with the best. Ibiza Away? Definitely one for the football bucket list.

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