Fran Grima's fifty: the fighting spirit of Ibiza's right-back
Fran Grima is happy in Ibiza. The right back already knew what it would be like to be living on an island (he had played for Atlético Baleares and Real Mallorca previously), but it's in sa roqueta that he found "wonderful and quiet spots, even in August, as long as you know where to find them". For the past one and a half years, Grima has been one of the fans' most popular players. He repays the supporters' trust and admiration with spirited performances and plenty of effort on the pitch as one of the leaders of the Sky Blues' ambitious project. "When I left Badalona and arrived at Mallorca [during season 2017/2018] I wasn't getting much game time. The team was doing well and I was enjoying my time as part of the squad, but in saying that there were tough days: you still want to play on match day. As a footballer, you want to be out there competing. In Ibiza, I was able to find that stability: I'm really happy on the island and in this team: we've got a family environment in the club as well as a very professional set up and atmosphere at the same time. There's plenty of ambition here, but also the tranquility to keep working and improving. I hope to defend this shirt for as long as I possibly can". As one of the team captains, Grima reached the milestone of playing 50 official matches for Ibiza on Sunday in the away match at Pontevedra. In doing so, he is able to reflect on the time since signing for the club in July 2018. "The team has changed quite a bit. I arrived here to play in the Third Division. The summer went by really quickly and suddenly, we were told that we were going to play in Segunda B and our preseason was completed right here in Ibiza: we couldn't play against quality opposition", explains Grima who considers last season as a vitally important learning curve for the club: "We were a club that was new in Segunda B, competing in group IV was really tough due to the complicated travel schedule involved and the countless flight cancellations we suffered. On three occasions, we didn't manage to make it back until Monday, but we took it all in our stride with humour and professionalism. This year is completely different, the trips are a lot more straight-forward even though they involve stop-overs". Grima this season has seen himself turn from a regular starter to becoming a defender who must compete for his spot with his team mates. He is buoyed and optimistic about the heightened level of competition in place at Ibiza due to quality signings and he is more than ready and prepared to take on the challenge with his trademark fighting spirit. This determination was on display as he replaced the injured David Morillas on the left-back position a number of times. "I love competing. Having such squad depth is one of the reasons for our current success. You cannot rest on your laurels. Each and every one of the players here can play and put on just as good a performance as the others, if not better", he says. Apart from his intensity on the pitch, Grima also brings and adds positivity to the dressing room. He helps integrate the younger squad members into the fold being able to count on his extensive experience in the sport. Adding to his milestone of matches played, Grima also produced a memorable goal in the Copa del Rey first round win away to Pontevedra which was his first goal for the club. "Whenever you score a goal, you get enormous satisfaction out of it, especially as a defender since we don't tend to score too often. Scoring my first goal for Ibiza, on top of that, was very special due to the game's importance. Overall, the entire cup competition was a beautiful experience for myself and the club. It's something we will always look back on with enormous pride and satisfaction".