The Norwegian national football team have made Malaga their home this week as Covid restrictions in their own country forced the squad to rethink plans for their World Cup qualifiers this week.
With the side, spearheaded by man of the moment Erling Braut Haaland, facing Gibraltar on Wednesday night (a 3-0 win), the side have been based at the Marbella Football Center, with the second of their games (against Turkey on Saturday at 6pm) to be played at La Rosaleda stadium in Malaga.
The local authorities seized the opportunity to offer the stadium which this weekend is free as Malaga are playing away in Cartagena.
A global superstar
It was Haaland's name which was on everyone's lips at the Palacio de Villalón, home to the Carmen Thyssen Museum in Malaga, on Monday. This stage was used to welcome the Norwegian federation, which was represented by former international referee Rune Pedersen. With such widespread interest, it served to demonstrate the value of holding such events locally, even if it will be behind closed doors.
A showcase for the city
"This event has a lot of value for Malaga, beyond the visibility it will have among the millions of inhabitants of Norway and Turkey. It shows the way we do things here and that we are capable," said the regional minister for Sport, José María Arrabal.
The match will be broadcast in 15 different countries, the minister stressed.