This morning saw Real Madrid travel to the city of Melilla to face Segunda Division B side UD Melilla in the Copa del Rey, where they were victorious 4-0.

But who are Melilla? They have a story different to the mainland Spanish clubs.

Melilla is located on the north coast of Africa and it is a Spanish presidio in Morocco, with a large Spanish population.

The population of the city is currently around 86,000 and Melilla’s stadium holds approximately 10,000 people.

While they are two divisions below La Liga, they finished in fifth position last season to qualify for the Copa del Rey.

In their squad, they feature several players who have been around the world in their careers.

Striker Yacine Qasmi was at Paris St. Germain until 2011, going through the club’s youth ranks, however failed to make a senior appearance.

Midfielder Juan Ramon Ruano has played for Spanish sides Cordoba, Tenerife and Alaves, while also spending a season at Austrian club LASK Linz.

Antonio Otegui made 14 senior appearances for Osasuna, while Igor Martinez has played 13 games for La Liga side Athletic Bilbao.

Jordi Ortega was involved in the youth ranks of Barcelona and Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Oscar Garcia Guerrero played nine matches for Auckland City in the New Zealand Football Championship.

Finally, their manager Luis Carrion came through the Barcelona youth ranks, representing their ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams in the process. Carrion is not their only manager to have taken charge of one of the big-two La Liga sides, with former boss Juan Ramon Lopez Caro managing Real Madrid in the 2005/06 season.

While Melilla have not played in La Liga in their history, they have won four league titles, both in the Segunda Division B and the Tercera Division. Their best finishes in the Copa del Rey were in the 1963/64 and 2012/13 seasons, where they reached the round of 32 stage.

They may not have had the success of a La Liga club, however their location makes an interesting story, and hosting Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey last night would have brought lots of joy to the city.

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com