FC Barcelona back in Las Palmas for first time in 15 years

Luis Enrique in action for Barça against Las Palmas in 2001 / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Catalans have not played away to Las Palmas since a 0-0 draw in 2001/02, a year after Rivaldo scored the only goal in a 1-0 win

This weekend (Saturday at 4.00pm CET), Barça are away to Las Palmas for the first time since the 2001/02 season, the year that the Canary Islanders last lost their top flight status. A decade and a half later, Las Palmas are back, and after losing 2-1 earlier this season at the Camp Nou, they are now preparing for the visit of the World and European champions.

There was a time when Las Palmas were a regular feature of the Spanish Liga. From 1951 to 1988, they were among the country’s top sides for all but eight years. Things have been a lot bleaker since then. Other than the first two seasons of the new century, they have spent almost three decades in the Second Division, or sometimes lower.

Last Barça visits

Back in November 2001, the last time Barça made the long trip south, the game ended 0-0, and the season before, the Catalans won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Rivaldo. The teams also met in the 1996/97 Copa del Rey semi-finals. Barça won 4-0 away in the first leg, with two goals from Ronaldo and one each from Pizzi and De la Peña, and went on to lift the trophy.

Current manager Luis Enrique was involved in all three of those games at the Estadio Insular, the old Las Palmas stadium which has since been replaced by the Estadio Gran Canaria.

Historic encounters

Going further back, Barça and Las Palmas also met in the Copa del Rey final of 1978, the only time the latter have ever made it that far. Barça won 3-1 in a game played at the Santiago Bernabéu.

There had been another historic match with Las Palmas the year before that, this time at the Camp Nou, when the president of the Catalan Government, Josep Tarradellas, sat in the box at the Barça stadium for the first time since being exiled to France in 1939. His return after forty years was a landmark moment in the history of Catalonia. He was welcomed by a huge ovation and the flying of the national flag. And the celebrations continued throughout the game as Barça romped to a 5-0 victory.

Precedents històrics FC Barcelona – Las Palmas… by fcbarcelona