Marbella is synonymous with golf and tennis, but it is also home to several other sports teams. Giles Brown, BRIGHT’S own Man of the Match, sprints energetically from the substitutes’ bench to bring us this full time report.
Mention sport in Marbella and you will automatically think of golf, with Valderrama hosting the Ryder Cup and the Andalucia Masters and Finca Cortesin the most recent Soldheim Cup. Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic is based in Marbella, while greats such as Borg, McEnroe and Becker have graced the courts and Spanish legend, the late Manolo Santana, established the club that still bears his name.
Away from the high profile and highly paid, however, Marbella also has a thriving sports scene that has seen local athletes win medals and represent Spain, and teams that have won national trophies.
Marbella Rugby Club
I will declare a vested interest in Marbella Rugby Club before I start. As a fully paid up member of the “Very enthusiastic but not very good” club, I made a few appearances on the hallowed turf at the Bahia de Marbella pitch – or “Fortress Bahia”. The team described me as an ‘impact’ player. Mainly because no one knew what I would do next…
Founded in 1989, Marbella RC is one of the best-supported and family friendly clubs in Marbella. With both male and female teams for all age categories, Marbella were national champions in the M14 category, while the senior team finished top of the Andalusian League.
Match days at Fortress Bahia – located conveniently across from the Hospital Costa del Sol – are great occasions, with plenty of vocal support from the stands in a variety of languages. Marbella Rugby Club also maintains one of the sport’s core values – a packed bar after the match and a delicious asador – thanks to the many Argentinians at the club!
The ground is also the home to the Costa Gaels. Celebrating its twentieth year, the ancient Irish sport of Gaelic Football has a strong following and the Gaels play in the Andalusian league. As you might expect with anything Irish, the training, matches and craic are both friendly and full on!
Marbella Football Club
Marbella Football Club’s story has more drama and plot twists – plus the occasional superstar making a cameo appearance – than a Hollywood Blockbuster. The club currently sits top of the league, that league being Segunda B – the fourth tier of the Spanish football system.
With a stadium just outside the Old Town – which famously saw concerts by Queen, Prince, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson – Marbella Football Club would seem to be the perfect destination for any footballer. Some of the biggest names in the game, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Erling Haaland already have properties in Marbella and there is a sports mad international community on the doorstep.
The team, however, has not been able to capitalise on this. The club was brought by Chinese businessman, Zhao Zhen who appointed Madrid based The Best Of You Sports S.A. in devising a new strategy for the club. They launched a new vision for Marbella FC including a 10,000-seater stadium at an €18million cost and a plan for the team to play in the top leagues.
Unfortunately, Marbella FC was hit with a double whammy as the pandemic hit, halting all work and a shakeup of the league structure saw the team drop two divisions. While the owners have dreams of playing Barcelona, the current team finds itself up against La Linea and Velez Málaga. It does not help that the old stadium is currently under repair.
Graceful, balletic and requiring insane amounts of eye to “whatever you are about to catch” coordination, rhythmic gymnastics is one of the most popular and spectacular disciplines. Marbella has one of Spain’s leading clubs, with gymnasts regularly winning medals at major competitions. At the recent Nationals in Orense, the girls came back with a medal haul that included Silver and Bronze.
Based at the northern end of the Parque de la Represa, the Club Gimnasia Rítmica Marbella demands an incredible amount of training, commitment and dedication from gymnasts, coaches (several of whom are former national and world champions) and parents who travel throughout Spain to add support. Marbella is also the venue for several international rhythmic gymnastics competitions, the most recent being the Marbella Grand Prix with competitors from Spain, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan among the countries represented.
Some action from the recent the Marbella Grand Prix competition
After football, basketball is Spain’s biggest team sport. The sporting press devote pages of coverage to the latest matches and both Real Madrid and Barcelona have teams that clash with the same intensity as their football sides. Although you would probably get that intensity if Real Madrid and Barcelona had tiddlywinks sides as well.
Playing in the Spanish Third Division, Club Baloncesto Marbella, based in the Polideportivo Bello Horizonte on the east side of town, was established in the 80s. Proud of a history that has included several seasons in the Second Division and Olympic Gold Medal winner Valdemaras Chomičius as a former player, the club is equally dedicated to the future.
Club Baloncesto Marbella works closely with the local community and schools, running several youth teams for boys and girls of all abilities. With an active approach to encouraging and coaching talented local players, the club draws an enthusiastic and noisy crowd to home matches, and has ambitions for promotion in the not too distant future.
Get involved by joining or supporting these clubs and cheer-on our local talented athletes.