Sun, sea, sex - and football? Barcelona face UD Ibiza - the Copa del Rey's ultimate away day

Antoine Griezmann Barcelona Ibiza GFX
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The last-32 clash has captured the imagination of nearly everyone on the island, with two thieves even stealing tickets for the game at the Can Misses

Ibiza: sun, sand, sea, sex – and now football?

Few would have previously linked the world's most popular sport with the world’s most notoriously hedonistic party island, but Barcelona are about to put UD Ibiza on the football map.

With gorgeous scenery and crystalline seas, unlimited diversion and some of the world’s glitziest nightclubs – including Amnesia, Privilege and Pacha – Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash sounds like the ultimate away day.

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Only last week, broadcaster TV3 used Pacha’s iconic dangling cherries logo in a graphic instead of UD Ibiza’s club badge.

“There are more idiots than there are windows and you're among the biggest,” raged club president Amadeo Salvo.

“What a waste: TV3 is financed with public money. To associate UD Ibiza with a nightclub, you have to at least be funny.

"I’ll see you at Can Misses (the stadium) and tell you it to your faces, geniuses.”

Ibiza clearly, and rightly, take themselves very seriously.

The club was founded in 2015, arising out of the ashes out of UD Ibiza-Eiviss, and they have risen from Spain's fifth tier to its third thanks to heavy investment from former Valencia president Salvo.

They are currently third in Segunda B Group 1, only two points behind joint-leaders Atletico Madrid B and Atletico Baleares.

Unsurprisingly, though, their Copa last-32 clash with Barca has been the talk of the island ever since the fixture was confirmed.

Hundreds of supporters camped out late Saturday night by the 4,500-seater Can Misses to try to get a ticket when they went on general sale the following morning.

"We had a good night here, all working together to make sure no one jumped in front," said one fan, Ignacio Cardona. "It didn't rain and it wasn't cold." The perks of living on a Balearic island.

Ibiza

The game sold out within four hours of the box office opening, with many of the 2,000 fans in the queue leaving empty-handed.

“There were 150 people in front of me and, in the end, it became 300. People were complaining and there were almost fights. It was very ugly,” Joaquin Martinez told Diario de Ibiza , having arrived at 3am to line up.

There was more drama on Sunday night when two hooded thieves broke into the offices and stole an undetermined number of tickets that had been reserved for season ticket holders and sponsors.

The pair were caught by security cameras, while the club immediately began working on reprinting new tickets and blocking those stolen.

New Barcelona coach Quique Setien knows his opposite number Pablo Alfaro well. They played together at Racing Santander between 1993 and 1995.

Alfaro also lined out for Barcelona in the 1992-93 campaign, featuring in only seven league games but winning the title, a Spanish Super Cup and the European Super Cup.

Setien will use the game to learn more about his squad and give wings to players like Riqui Puig, Carles Perez and other B teamers who want to prove themselves capable of starring for the first team on a regular basis.

However, with the competition’s new format of one-off ties instead of double-headers, Barcelona don’t have the historic security of the return at Camp Nou, so plenty of first-teamers will be in action too.

Many Spanish fans have two allegiances, one to their local team and a second to either Barcelona or Real Madrid. So, for some, this game will be win-win.

The Catalans, with a tricky league clash with Valencia on Monday, aren’t staying on the island long. They are expected to fly in on Wednesday morning and depart immediately after the game that night.

However, the memories they leave behind for the lucky few who get through the turnstiles at Can Misses will last a lifetime.

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