The new Unicaja of López Nieto

Unicaja will face this new season with López Nieto as the new president, resigning from the Eurocup, betting on the BCL and returning to the spirit of 1995.


Unicaja faces this coming season with significant changes. New president, Antonio Jesús López Nieto and resigns from playing the Euroleague Eurocup to bet on the FIBA Basketball Champions League. Fotis Katsikaris, renewed coach, will have a squad with eight Spanish players. Let's go for part.

Change of president

On March 30, Eduardo García resigned after ten years as president of the team. Sergio Corral, on an interim basis, assumed office until the Unicaja Board of Directors decided to appoint Antonio Jesús López Nieto.

López Nieto was an outstanding soccer referee. Pioneer in betting on the 'referee teams', an initiative so that the then linesmen (today assistant referees) stopped being mere vases. After leaving the arbitration he held various positions in the Provincial Council and was a member of the Referee Appointments Committee on behalf of LaLiga de fútbol.

This appointment was questioned from various sectors. Some thought that he was a 'football fan' and that he was not a basketball man. There was also criticism from some political parties. López Nieto argues that he was a partner of Caja de Ronda many years ago (a Malaga team that, after merging with Mayoral Maristas, gave rise to the current Malaga Basketball Club, also called Unicaja). He also remembers that his mission is not to do politics but to manage a club.

Doubts about the sponsorship

Before the landing of López Nieto there was an earthquake because it was publicized that Unicaja would cease to be a sponsor. Differences between the management of the financial institution and the Unicaja Foundation (which is the owner of the club) led fans to fear an outcome that was not desired by the fans. Finally there was a quorum and Unicaja Banco maintains its support for the club.

Goodbye to the Eurocup

This is a decision that continues to leave doubts among fans. Unicaja has decided to leave the Eurocup, where the winner can play the Euroleague with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Efes, Milan or CSKA and bets on the BCL (Basketball Champions League) organized by the FIBA.

Why this change?

It seems that the BCL will take a photo of the Malagueños, but economically it is more interesting because it guarantees 40,000 euros for playing the regular phase, 80,000 euros for reaching the round of 16, 120,000 euros for the quarterfinals, 140,000 euros for the fourth classified, 200,000 for the third, 400,000 for the second and a million for the champion. More than double that in the Euroleague.

For your interest, we reproduce López Nieto's explanation of the day of his presentation as president. “There is a decision that we make from responsibility. I will be clear and sharp. The Euroleague theme is unfeasible for this club, in the parameters by which it currently moves. A society managed by 11 clubs that direct the rest in an ambiguous way does not seem adequate to us. Valencia, with a very high budget and ninth and with 18 victories, does not receive an invitation, which goes to other teams. In the current parameters, discarded the Euroleague, you have to choose between the Eurocup and the Champions League. It is a pure strategy, for the future, for the present and for competitiveness. The Eurocup has 18 games with every Wednesday with a requirement. The Champions League allows 15-day breaks at the beginning of the season, avoids the risk of injury and adapts to reality. ”

The most national Unicaja

With the signing of Jonathan Barreiro, Unicaja has eight national players. The other seven are Francis Alonso, Rubén Guerrero, Darío Brizuela, Carlos Suárez, Jaime Fernández, Alberto Díaz and youth squad Pablo Sánchez. It could be nine if, in the course of the months Yannich Nzosa obtains the Spanish passport. Nobody has more Spaniards in the Endesa League than Unicaja.

Fotis Katsikaris and his Greek profile

He arrived in the middle of last season to replace Luis Casimiro in a season where the team, due to its poor sports planning and enormous plague of injuries, plunged into mediocrity. Katsikaris tried to stop the fall and now, renewed for two years, he is working to come back.

What will the budget be?

The budget for the 2021-22 season will be around ten million euros.

Goodbye to Manolo Rubia

A Unicaja without the great Manolo Rubia is a little less Unicaja. 34 years linked to the club. He played in the Caja de Ronda, then he did everything. Efficient delegate and sporting director with knowledge of the market. That is why he was also with the National Team. After his retirement, another historical person, Juanma Rodríguez, will enter as responsible for the signings, architect that Betis has once again consolidated itself in the elite of the ACB.

The spirit of 1995

It is clear that the best Unicaja ever was the one who won the 2005 Cup and the League in 2006 with Sergio Scariolo. But the most longed for is that of 1995, that of the League runner-up that could be the championship if Ansley scored the famous triple against Barcelona with Nacho Rodríguez, Manel Bosch, Ávalos, Alfonso Reyes, Gaby Ruiz, Dani Romero, Ernesto Serrano or Richi Guillén . National unicaja. Like now.

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