La Liga will welcome three fresh teams to the Primera División next season – all in search of finding their feet in the elite league. Always an exciting prospect, the thrill of promotion is unlike no other for a football supporter, and this time around, that privilege was given to the trio of Osasuna, Granada and Real Mallorca. Lets take a look at each of the promotion hopefuls and evaluate their successful path towards Spain’s top flight league. La Liga awaits the new kids on the block…
The team from Pamplona were crowned champions of the Segunda División – earning 87 points along the way – with their winning advantage a matter of eight points to second-placed Granada. Their El Sadar stadium will be welcoming the stars of Spain’s top division once more thanks to their imperious home record from last season – going unbeaten throughout their campaign with 19 wins and two draws, proving an authentic fortress.
An historic name in Spanish football, Osasuna have bounced back to La Liga after being two seasons away, and they will look towards their long-serving midfielder Roberto Torres for hope. His 12 goals gave his team the perfect platform in their quest of triumphing as La Liga 123 champions. The local boy came through their academy ranks and made his debut in the Osasuna youth team in the 2006-07 campaign. He will be crucial to his sides chances of further progress next season.
The Andalusians are back in La Liga after a two-year spell out and return with renewed energy. The club finished 2nd in the automatic position of the Segunda División with 79 points, five points clear of Málagain third. The 11 goals of their attacking midfielder Antonio Puertas were key in ensuring the team from the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes take their seat at the top table of Spanish football next season. They will take hope from their fine away form from their promotion season being the team with the best away record in the division.
The club have been run by Chinese businessman Jiang Lizhang since June 2016 and Granada’s supporters will be hoping the board strengthen their side sufficiently to ensure they attain their Primera League status come next term.
Mallorca return to La Liga after a six year absence and return with a bang after overturning a 2-0 deficit in their Segunda División playoff final first leg match against Deportivo La Coruña in the Riazor to prevail 3-0 in the deciding match in the Son Moix. One of the island’s favourite sons was in attendance as tennir star Rafael Nadal was part of the 21,210 supporters who cheered on Mallorca’s captivating comeback.
The Islanders finished in fifth position during the regular season with 69 points, and their veteran midfielder Salva Sevilla scored a wondrous free kick during the play-off finale to give life to this most unlikely play-off turnaround. Much will be expected of the player from Berja in Almería with his experience to guide Mallorca to safe waters upon their return to the Primera League.
Their dramatic promotion victory represents a remarkable turnaround for a team who, only two years ago, were relegated to the Segunda División B. Two years later and successive promotions have given the team from the Balearic Islands Primera División status once more.
Backed by American tycoon Robert Sarver, who part owns the NBA side Phoenix Suns, along with former Canadian Basketball star Steve Nash also forming part of the setup, they have overseen an eventful period in Mallorca’s history with a relegation and two promotions. However, with the successes of the past two seasons, there is a progressive momentum with the club on the up and back in the bigtime once again.