Sunflower seeds at La Rosaleda
I Daniel Barthold
I Malaga CF v CD Mirandes 2-2
Malaga and its airport is the gateway to the Costa del Sol so most holiday travellers do not stay in town and rather spend their time on the proper beaches in Marbella, Estepona or the Sierra Blanca. You can see loads of older people from Britain in particular, Scandinavia, Germany or the Netherlands who retire in southern Spain – nobody would ever argue with that idea.
The city itself has quite a religious vibe to it with several churches such as the ‘Iglesia de Santiago Apostol’, the Malaga Cathedral and the ‘Alcazaba de Malaga’ built by the Hammudid dynasty.
It is certainly worth spending a day in town even if the destination lies elsewhere on the Costa del Sol. The weather in January is lovely, clear skies and roughly 18 degrees makes it a perfect location to escape the wet cold UK weather.
Malaga CF v CD Mirandes
Quite an entertaining game with four goals and both teams even creating chances for a higher final score. Two penalties and a pretty shocking error by Malaga’s keeper Munir were the highlights on a beautiful sunny day. Obviously, I had noticed that this was a La Liga 2 fixture but Malaga including a few other teams in the 2nd tier such as La Coruna or Zaragoza still sound like the Primera Division to me, however, the stadium was more or less half full only with an attendance of 15,255 so the club certainly has seen better days.
La Rosaleda is a lovely ground with stands being close to the pitch and the surroundings are quite nice. There are a few hills around and the setting was perfect for some decent stadium pictures. The atmosphere was not great but as mentioned, Malaga CF seem to go through a tough spell at the moment so mid-table in La Liga 2 are certainly not the aspirations of a fairly big football club. What I had also noticed was a number of British football fans who either moved to southern Spain or travel to the Costa del Sol regularly and hence, became supporters of Malaga CF. I saw a few English flags with a Malaga logo on it and in the city centre plenty of British tourists were wearing Malaga fan gear. It seems like the Costa del Sol is for British tourists what Palma de Mallorca is for German travellers and expats – I am not too sure how much the locals like that but at least it helps to keep tourism in Spain on a good level which should help the slightly struggling economy.
What is always special about going to a match in Spain is the love for sunflower seeds. You will notice plenty of people working on a big bag of those for the entire 90 minutes. The result is thousands of shells covering the seats and stairs of the stadium. In Germany it is the Bratwurst, in Britain pies, in Belgium fries and clearly, the favourite football snack in Spain are sunflower seeds which seems to keep every fan busy especially when it is a dull football match – which was not the case this time though, the game was a fairly enjoyable watch.
HOW TO GET THERE
Estadio La Rosaleda is about a 30-40 minute walk from the city centre and Malaga Maria Zambrano station. I actually did walk post match and it is lovely when it is sunny. On the way to the game I took the airport bus which costs 3€ and takes about 20 minutes to the train station. From the station it is about a 10 minute taxi ride (including a bit of matchday traffic) and costs less than 10€.
After the game I recommend paying the ‘Meson los Robles de Leon’ a visit. A lovely bar with cold beers, wines and some decent tapas which is perfect to enjoy the exquisite Spanish cuisine.
Malaga Airport is a major holiday hub so you can fly direct from almost every European country for relatively low fares. Several direct flights go to London on a daily basis.
Born in 1983 in Hildesheim (Lower Saxony, Germany) and raised in the Hamburg Area. Supporter of FC St. Pauli and since 2010 living and working in London (England) as a sports business consultant. Groundhopping has been a passion since the early days but I am actively counting and ticking off grounds since the Euros 2004. I have been to 500 stadiums in 65 countries so far.