Malaga CF taking on Tenerife last weekend was just the latest in six decades of summer friendly games held prior to the start of the season at La Rosaleda football ground.
The idea to invite teams, both domestic and foreign, to the capital of Costa del Sol for a tournament in a friendly atmosphere first occurred in 1960. The following year, on 12 August, 1961, the tournament was inaugurated. The 120-cm-high trophy was designed by Aurelio Marcos Bartual and made of silver and enamel. Trofeo Costa del Sol was sponsored by the Royal Spanish Football Federation and organised by both Málaga City Council and the main local football club - Club Deportivo Málaga which in 1994 changed its name to Málaga Club de Fútbol.
Not only has the club changed its name during these last six decades, but also the tournament itself has been officially called by many different names - from 'Trofeo Internacional Costa del Sol' to 'Trofeo Costa del Sol'.
Various unforeseen circumstances caused changes during the tournament’s existence. For example, 'Trofeo Costa del Sol' was cancelled several times due to different reasons.
In the years 1981-82 it didn't take place due to the renovation of La Rosaleda Stadium for the Spanish World Cup. Then, in 1984 the tournament was discontinued because of the financial decline and subsequent insolvency of Club Deportivo Málaga and was not resumed until 2004 after the re-founding of Málaga Club de Fútbol.
It was not held in the years 2009 and 2013. The last tournament took place in 2017.
The tournament was always played at La Rosaleda, except for in 2007. The 25th edition of the tournament was postponed due to the poor state of the pitch after summer music concerts had been staged at the stadium. The match against Borussia Dortmund was finally played in January 2008.
Fronm strong to weak
Since 2005 the Costa del Sol Trophy has been played in a single match. Looking at the results over the years, it seems the Malaga football players know how to win and even how to lose with dignity.
They have played against very strong and prestigious clubs but never felt underestimated, playing against totally unknown teams.
In 1963 CD Málaga won the title for the first time against Real Madrid, 'starring' the majestic figure of Alfredo di Stéfano.
In 2015, Malaga played against 'Lekhwiya Club' founded in Doha by the Qatari House of Al-Thani, which at that time was only six years old. It was however more than just a friendly match; it was the match between two brothers because since 2010, the Malaga FC was owned by Al-Thani himself.
Despite being an interclub tournament, on two occasions even national teams were invited - Argentina in 1967 and Japan in 1977. These years were also marked with arriving prominent football personalities: the Brazilian Pelé who came in Malaga in 1967 and the Dutch star Johan Cruyff who played at La Rosaleda for FC Barcelona in 1977.
The oldest teams invited to the tournament came from England.. Blackpool Football Club, founded in 1889, was the first club from England to play in Malaga, with a successful result..
Newcastle United FC, whose birth is dated in 1892, as well as Everton FC, that was established in Liverpool in 1878, also participated in the Costa del Sol tournament in 2005 and 2012 respectively, but both lost.
However, Malaga remembers the outstanding victory of English football when Spurs came to the Costa. In the 60s Tottenham Hotspurs were considered one of the strongest clubs in Europe thanks to Bill Nicholson, their most successful manager. He guided the team to major trophy successes, and in 1963, Tottenham became the first British team to win the 1962–63 European Cup Winners' Cup after beating Atlético Madrid 5–1 in the final. Tottenham Hotspur Football Club won the Costa del Sol tournament twice in a row, in 1965 and 1966.
None of the other guest clubs have ever repeated such a notable success.