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First team

The opposition: Granada

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Granada will provide formidable warm-up opposition for AFC Bournemouth, the Andalusian club having enjoyed a resurgence in recent seasons.

The Cherries lock horns with the Nazaries in their second pre-season friendly at Federacion Malaguena de Futbol on Monday (6pm kick-off UK time).

GRANADA IN PROFILE

Head coach: Robert Moreno (pictured below)

Year formed: 1931

Stadium: Nuevo Los Carmenes

Nickname: The Nazaries

Last season’s league position: Ninth in La Liga

Highest league finishing position: Sixth in La Liga (1971/72 and 1973/74)

Europa League best: Quarter-finals (2020/21)

Copa del Rey best: Runners-up (1958/59)

Granada’s meteoric rise to La Liga mirrors that of the Cherries’ rapid ascent from the depths of League Two to the Premier League between 2009 and 2015.

Languishing in Spain’s fourth tier just 15 years ago, 2020/21 represented the most successful season in the club’s 90-year history.

Head coach Diego Martinez, once Unai Emery’s assistant at Sevilla, left Granada in May having guided them to ninth in La Liga and a place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

Appointed in June 2018, Martinez (pictured below) was the instigator of their success, winning promotion in his first season before leading Granada to a seventh-place finish in the top flight and to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey in 2019/20.

Their first season in European competition ended in defeat at the hands of Manchester United, Martinez’s team of relative unknowns assembled for the princely sum of 8m euro.

They battled through three qualifying rounds and the group phase before seeing off Napoli and Molde over two legs in the knockout stages to reach the last eight.

Martinez’s replacement was Robert Moreno whose impressive CV boasts coaching spells with Roma, Celta Vigo, Barcelona and Monaco.

The 43-year-old assisted Luis Enrique at club level and with the Spain national team, stepping in to replace his mentor following the untimely passing of his daughter.

Under Moreno, Spain won seven and drew two of his nine games in Euro 2020 qualifying before Enrique returned to replace him for the finals.  

Granada was bought by Chinese businessman John Jiang and his DDMC Group in 2016, the sellers being the Pozzo family who currently own Watford and Udinese.

They had no fewer than six different coaches in less than two seasons, among them former England international Tony Adams (pictured above) who lost all seven of his games at the helm.

Two players familiar to followers of English football in Granada’s squad last season were former Spurs striker Roberto Soldado (pictured below) and ex-Chelsea winger Kenedy who also had a loan spell at Newcastle.

Venezuela international Yangel Herrera, who was on loan from Manchester City, impressed during their Europa League campaign as did 39-year-old striker Jorge Molina whose current deal with Granada will take him past his 40th birthday.

Soldado, who joined Spurs from Valencia in August 2013, signed for Levante last month with Granada bringing in striker Carlos Bacca from Villarreal to replace him.

A team-mate of Jefferson Lerma with Colombia, frontman Bacca, who helped Villarreal win the Europa League last season, could feature against the Cherries.

Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Silva, who started both legs of the Europa League quarter-final against Manchester United, last month joined Real Betis on a free transfer.

Talented midfielder Monchu, who enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with Girona last season, joined Granada from Barcelona over the weekend and could debut against the Cherries.

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