The island club, which due to an improper alignment in the 1993-94 season fell in the round of 16 against PSG in the offices, returns through the front door to the maximum continental competition
The European runner-up, the Czech runner-up and the third in the Bundesliga will be the rivals of the yellows
History owes a big debt to Guaguas. The entity chaired by Juan Ruiz now has a good opportunity to collect it. In 1994, Alexis Valido’s improper alignment in the tie against PSG dismantled the yellows in the round of 16 of the European Volleyball Cup. Almost three decades later, the island team returns to the top continental competition, now the Champions League, after overcoming two previous ones.
Since its refoundation in the 2020-21 season, Europe had become the pending subject of a Guaguas that could not break the barriers of the Champions League qualifying rounds, until Sunday. The yellows managed to get into the group stage in Belgrade, and through the big door. It is true that the change in the format of the competition has greatly complicated the qualification to compete in the current Champions League, which gives even more value to the islanders’ feat.
It was not so complicated to compete in the highest continental competition in the golden age of the former Calvo Sotelo, the seed of the Buses. At that time, the Spanish teams enjoyed a ranking that allowed them direct access to the then European Cup by winning the league title, something the club did up to five times in its previous and glorious stage, in the 1990s. 90.
The classification of Gran Canarian people to live their revival particular with the elite of the Old Continent must be taken for what it is, a success. And not only for the club chaired by Juan Ruiz, but for the entire national volleyball, which can thus see the Super League ranking improved for the next editions of the Champions League, as long as Sergio Miguel Camarero’s men manage to do a good job. on his return. It should be remembered that the last Spanish representative to compete in the Champions League was Teruel in the 2012-13 season, with the previous competition formula.
Guaguas, with the new format, is the first to get into the group stage. And Juan Ruiz describes that as a exceptional achievement: «For a small island like Gran Canaria, being able to beat the champions of Serbia, Austria, Romania, Croatia and Montenegro, four of them 3-0 and the fifth giving up a single set in one of the cradles of European volleyball “As it is the fiefdom of Partizan Belgrade, it is a dream that has come true.”
The president of Guaguas, regarding the role that his team can play in this Champions League, considers that «This team is capable of beating any opponent“But we will face clubs with four times the budget of us, but we consider that none of them are unbeatable and we can beat them.”
«We dedicate this success to Felipe Nuez, one of the founders, who is in poor health»
President of the CV Guaguas
The leader is especially happy about this achievement for “the fans and for the Island”, but in these moments of immense happiness he wishes to dedicate the classification to Felipe Nuez: “He was one of the founders of the club in its first stage and has been hospitalized since a few weeks ago due to some health problems.
Elimination against PSG
Juan Ruiz remembers with regret the date of January 20, 1994. That day, the team managed to come back from the round of 16 tie of the European Cup against PSG with a flag up to the flag. After losing the first leg in Paris 3-0, the islanders forced a third duel by giving back to the French in the second leg. In the third match, the Gran Canarians defeated the Gauls 3-1. The overflowing joy then turned into anxiety.
The lineup of the then youth Alexis Valido, who was only 16 years old, left the islanders out of the next round when the French team claimed the improper alignment of the youth squad, as he was not on the list of players eligible to play. the maximum continental competition. That controversial decision left the yellows with honey on their lips.
“I was a youth player and was not registered for the European Cup, PSG complained and we were left out”
Arona Tenerife South Libero
That young man, over time, would become one of the great legends of Guaguas and still today he remembers the call from Antonio Benítez, the delegate at that time, to give him the bad news: “I remember that in the third game with PSG he had “The police had to come to stop more people from entering the CID because that was nonsense and we managed to beat them to the next round.” «We were going to play against Maxicono Parma, which was one of the best teams at the time. Our surprise was that Antonio Benítez called my neighbor, because at that time my parents had not yet set up the phone, to give him the passport information, because as a youth they had not registered me on the European Cup list, since In the League it was not necessary, so the other team complained and they eliminated us for improper alignment,” recalls the now active libero of Arona Tenerife Sur.
Valido acknowledges that for him Guaguas’ classification has been a very pleasant surprise: «Although it has been strengthened and has a great squad, one always thinks that in Europe the clubs have more budget and are more prepared for this type of competitions. I will always carry this club deep inside, it was the one that made me known, where I made my debut in the Super League and helped me leave the Canary Islands to pursue my sporting career -France, Germany or Unicaja, were some of its destinations-.
Regarding his former teammate Sergio Miguel Camarero, current coach of the island team, he states that “he maintains many of the facets he had as a player, because he has always been very intense, although I have not been lucky enough to have him as a coach.”
“A very big step”
Camarero himself remembers that at that time, in addition to the elimination against the Parisians, in another edition of the European Cup they lost to the Italian Modena in the round of 16. “Being among the 20 best teams in Europe is a very big step for us,” says the Gran Canaria coach. He already knows what it’s like to lead a team in the group stage of the top competition, but at the women’s level. It was as coach of the Hotel Cantur -now Hidramar Gran Canaria-, with whom he played in the Champions League five times.
«Our fans will be able to enjoy at least three clashes of the highest European level»
Coach of CV Guaguas
“We are going to give our fans at least three matches at the highest European level against the runners-up of the Champions League, the runners-up of the Czech Republic and the third-placed team in Germany,” he highlights.
It is worth remembering that the Gran Canaria club lived the experience of a European Final Four. That of the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1997-98 campaign, in which they finished fourth.