El Centrocampista

THE MARCH ON MADRID – ‘At least’ 5000 set to descend from Granada

The Granada edition of daily newspaper Ideal, has reported that the official travel agency of Granada CF, sold the 3,000 allocation made available by Real Madrid, within only 48 hours.

The agency and various supporters clubs have since been beseiged by requests for more, from football hungry Granadino fans.

Whilst the official agency is trying to obtain more tickets from Real Madrid, it’s expected that hundreds of fans will source tickets through fan clubs, online or even look to buy tickets in Madrid on the day of the game.

Due to the demand, it’s expected that “at least” 5,000 Granada fans will make the trip, which will be amongst the most ever travelled to an away match.

Whilst in English football, away teams are often bouyed by strong travelling support at away grounds, in Spain only small numbers journey to away games. Local derbies and rival matches usually attract the most travelling fans, but due to the size of Spain and the inevitable cost of travel, not to mention inevitable overnight hotel accommodation for some of the furthest trips, following teams around the country can be an expensive business.

Two things have contributed to the demand from Granda fans for this match however. Firstly, it’s the first opportunity for Granada fans to follow their team in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium for 35 years. Secondly, the match conveniently takes place during the Reyes weekend and national holidays.

Whatever the outcome of the match, there’ll be a party atmosphere and very vocal support from the travelling Granadinos.

Meanwhile with the January transfer window now wide open, there looks set to be plenty of activity.

The first move has seen Yohan Mollo return to his native France, with a loan deal at AS Nancy until the end of the season. Having arrived with great expectations, it’s hard to account for why he’s not featured more than the sporadic appearances he’s made.

During the the festive period, rumours emerged that following his honorary visit for the Granada v Levante match, Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira had discussed with his Granada counterpart Quique Pina, a shock move between the two clubs of former Barcelona and Real Madrid striker, Javier Saviola.

Granada and the player himself moved quickly to scotch the rumours though. Quique Pina claimed that although Saviola is a great player, Granada are still a modest club and simply couldn’t justify such a large salary expenditure on a single player. Saviola claimed that although it was the first he’d heard of such rumours, there was no truth them.

Whilst many Granada fans would have loved to see Saviola strutting his stuff in the red and white hoops, they will still be bouyed by more recent comments by the club president.

In the last day or so, Quique Pina has confirmed that the club is in advanced negotiations to bring former Rayo Vallecano and Alcorcón defender, Borja Gómez, back to Spain from his short and unhappy spell at Ukranian club, FC Karpaty Lviv. Borja Gómez would arrive for free, having rescinded his contract with the Ukranian side. This move is seen as being mindful of the fact that the highly impressive Pape Diakhaté will be away with the Senegalese squad for the African Cup of Nations, providing important defensive cover.

Pina has also confirmed he’s “very interested” in a move for a young striker, that most fans of the Football Manager games, will know very well indeed. Regulars on forums associated with the game will be well aware that one of the most popular signings amongst fans of the game is that of the towering young Senegalese prospect, Khaouma Babacar, currently with Italian side Fiorentina.

Often touted by the Italian football press as the “new Drogba”, his progress has reportedly been tracked by many of the biggest clubs in Europe, since he scored on his Fiorentina debut at the age of 16. Still only 18 years of age, he’s got great potential, whilst also offering a very dynamic option to spearhead the Granada attack with power, pace and height.

Whilst Pina accepts such a move will not be without its complications, due to the great expectations Fiorentina have for the player long-term, he has stated clearly that he has been “fighting to get the player on loan” initially.

A line has also been drawn under the situation regarding Villarreal’s attempts to terminate Ike Uche’s loan deal early, due to the decimation of their strike force with injuries. Pina making it clear that “Uche is a Granada player until June 30th and he will fulfill his commitment, because he wants to play at Granada”.

Finally, former Portuguese international Jorge Ribeiro, a summer free transfer signing from Benfica, has told Quique Pina that he cannot account for his lack of regular selection, is unsettled and wants to leave. Pina has suggested that Ribeiro will now be looking at alternative options during the transfer window, whilst also making it clear that all the remaining players are “content and satisfied” at the club.

Interesting times indeed.


  1. Iain McMullen

    5 January, 2012 at 22:11

    It should be a great atmosphere at the Bernabeu on Saturday. I thInk Granada should finish in a comfortable mid-table position come the end of the season – something most people probably thought was beyond them.

    Saviola would have been a great signings and I’d love to see ‘el conejo’ back in la liga but I still think they’ve got enought to steer clear of a dog fight.

  2. Heath Chesters

    6 January, 2012 at 12:41

    Whilst I don’t think Granada will win against Real Madrid, I’ve a sneaky feeling they’ll frustrate their opponents. I fancy the result being a 0-0 draw. Especially considering Real Madrid might not be as fresh as Granada, having played Málaga in the cup this week.

    Mid-table is pretty much what I expected from Granada at the start of the season, having looked at the squad they assembled in the summer. What makes things even more interesting though, is that the club are four points ahead of the relegation zone, but only five points off a European spot.

    Depending on how negotiations go with some of the transfer targets, they will be looking to strengthen in the transfer window.

    Saviola would have been a cracking signing for sure, but Granada are running a tight ship financially. They have got money to spend and are making healthy profits, unlike so many Spanish clubs. remaining sensible, not throwing the money at one or two “stellar” signings is for the best, longer term.

    Confirmation of the deal for Mollo on loan to AS Nancy was released today. €150,000 loan fee plus a €2m option to buy. Granada have recouped 30% of what they paid for him in the summer and also set a potential value that would see them make treble the profit. His wages are also covered 100% for the duration of the loan deal.

    • Iain McMullen

      6 January, 2012 at 16:42

      It looks like they want to offload Yohan Mollo permanently then – what’s gone wrong for him?

  3. Pingback: Jose Mourinho criticises Real Madrid fans again | elcentrocampista.com - Spanish Football and La Liga News in English

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