ON a recent trip to the Costa del Sol my family and I decided to visit La Rosaleda, the home of Malaga FC and go on the stadium tour.
Not a club that first springs to mind when you think of La Liga, but since 2011 the club has been on the rise, mainly thanks to the investment of over 150m Euros by owner Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani.
The tour takes you down memory lane with pictures of the ground in the beginning with just a few rows of terracing up to present day, where the ground now has a 30,000 capacity. The trophy room follows where a letter sits proudly from former player Ruud van Nistlerooy.
The former Manchester United striker joined the Boquerones (Anchovies) in 2011 and the letter announces his retirement from football in 2012, which he has written in Spanish.
Another past player, that has also played in the Premiership at Arsenal is Brazilian midfielder Julio Baptiste, and their manager from November 2010 up to the summer of 2013 was former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
You are also taken into the VIP area and then the stand before working back under the seating to where the old team bus still lives. A very rusty looking bus, like the one on the Italian Job, was used to ferry the team around in the 1960’s and as a thank you for his services to the club the driver of the bus was given a house to live in within the compound of the grounds.
The most exciting part of the tour for my son, Daniel, was going into the away dressing room, down the tunnel and sitting in the dug outs as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale have also been there. He was suitably impressed.
I have been lucky enough to go to the San Siro and Camp Neu and while their tours and indeed stadia are on a grander scale this was very enjoyable and I would recommend it if you are ever down that way.