Nestled in the Pyrenees between Spain and France is the picturesque country of Andorra. The microstate has a population of just less than 80,000.
It is therefore unsurprising that Andorra is rarely of the radar of most football fans; with the Andorran National Football team winning a mere 13 matches since becoming recognised by FIFA in 1996. However, in December 2018 when Gerard Piqué bought club side FC Andorra (through his holding company Kosmos) they have had a meteoric rise.
At that time, FC Andorra were in the Spanish Fifth Division with match day attendances as low as 30 people. The media in Spain were understandably sceptical at his new investment. However, Piqué was undeterred and had ambitious goals for his new side, claiming that he wanted to hear the Champions League music in their stadium one day.
In June 2019, after a streak of 22 matches unbeaten, FC Andorra secured promotion to the Fourth Division. 1,500 fans watched in the stadium whilst many gathered in the streets behind. Unfortunately, Piqué couldn’t attend the game himself as he played in the Spanish Cup final for Barcelona against Valencia the previous day.
Barely a month later, a unique opportunity presented itself. CF Reus were automatically relegated from the Third Division for failing to pay their players. As a result, a vacant spot in the Third Division for the 2019/20 season had opened up. Despite interest from other clubs such as Zamora, Jaén, Intercity and Linares, it was FC Andorra who paid the Spanish Football Federation the required fee (£400,000) to replace Reus. This sealed a ‘double promotion’ for the club.
The ambitious Andorrans didn’t stay in that league for long either. They won the 2021/22 Third Division title finishing four points clear of Villarreal B. Due to the speed of their rise up the leagues, their infrastructure couldn’t keep up, with sporting director Jaume Nogues stating:
It takes time, we’ve grown too fast.
FC Andorra currently share the 3300 capacity Estadi Nacional with the Andorran National Football team. They have now been granted planning permission to build a new 6000 seater stadium which is estimated to cost €26 million.
The club are currently embarking on their first ever season in the Spanish Second Division and are just three points off the playoff places with fifteen games played. Piqué believes their fans will play a major role in their success:
The main difference with other clubs in Spain is here there’s a whole country backing up the team.
With the club overcoming so many hurdles in such a short space of time – Can you see Piqué’s ambitious Champions League aim becoming a reality one day?