First team

Pablo Alfaro, year 1

Pablo Alfaro commented a few weeks ago in a conversation with journalists covering Ibiza’s up-to-date news that he was about to complete his first year with the club. It’s a date that is fixed in the coach’s mind as his debut with the club took place a few days prior to his daughter’s birthday. This week, he celebrates the one-year anniversary of his time at the Sky Blues with his signing announced on 28 February 2019 and his first match in charge of Ibiza taking place on 3 March 2019 at Can Misses against San Fernando in a one-all draw.

12 months have passed since that match over the course of two seasons that are certainly different, but definitely marked by positive results. “I’m here with all of the eagerness and desire to do well and grow with the club, to be a part of this structure and really help this project go from strength to strength”, were Alfaro’s first words as he was presented by Amadeo Salvo and Fernando Soriano at his unveiling at Can Misses. The winning character embodied by the former Sevilla and Barcelona defender is a key trait that he has managed to instill in his squad since taking charge. The numbers and statistics during the Alfaro era explain the club’s sporting success. With a winning percentage of 54% in all official matches disputed since signing for the club (23 wins and 11 draws in 42 matches), the overall balance of Alfaro’s reign on the island is a positive one.

In the time from March 2019 to March 2020, Ibiza has only tasted defeat on eight occasions with the first one coming in Alfaro’s second match in charge after an away loss to Marbella (1-3). Following that result, the coach oversaw a ten-match winning streak to finish the league in a Copa del Rey qualifying spot in Group 5 of Segunda B. This season, Alfaro has guided his team to be in the front-pack of Group 1, sitting in second place. The coaching staff’s rotation policy – Alfaro is assisted by Antonio Méndez, Álex Prieto (physical preparation coach) and goalkeeping coaches Juanjo Valencia and Roberto García – has allowed almost all of the squad’s members to taste game time over the course of the current season to be in a good rhythm ahead of entering the final stretch of the competition.

Another aspect Alfaro mentioned in his first press-conference upon being presented was the importance of building an identity and connection between the team’s players and the fan base, a supporter’s group that is growing in numbers from one match-day to another. The proof of this momentum was best highlighted in the club’s historic round of 32 clash against FC Barcelona in the Spanish Copa del Rey cup competition. Although his side lost the match in the final minute, Alfaro’s team ran out moral winners of a clash that arguably defined the club’s growing stature, putting it on the map of football in Spain and attracting worldwide attention. The match against one of Spanish football’s giants was Alfaro’s most special night as Ibiza’s head coach so far, one that everyone hopes will serve as a prelude to more memorable chapters to be written in the club’s history. Eleven rounds of the current 2019/2020 competition remain, the same amount as last season when Alfaro took charge, exactly 366 days ago.