Las Palmas: Punching Above their Weight in their Return to La Liga

The 2023/2024 season for Unión Deportiva Las Palmas has been a return to La Liga filled with challenges and noteworthy moments, marking their first season in the Spanish first division since the 2017-2018 season. Throughout the early months of the competition, the team has experienced both lows and significant victories that highlight their struggle and adaptation to the highest level of Spanish football.


Today, Las Palmas find themselves in a comfortable position, 15 points above relegation and 9 points from European spots. With only 9 rounds remaining, the team is unlikely to either earn European qualification or be relegated.


In the initial matches, Las Palmas faced difficulties, such as a defeat against Valencia and a goalless draw against Real Sociedad, but also achieved important victories, like their first season win against Granada, thanks to a decisive goal by Kirian Rodríguez in the match’s final moments. The team showed its comeback capability in an exciting match against Celta Vigo, securing victory with a goal in added time, and achieved its first away win against Villarreal.


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In terms of management, García Pimienta has led the team with a clear vision, extending his contract until June 2025, which indicates confidence in his long-term project. The squad has seen new faces, such as the arrival of Máximo Perrone on loan from Manchester City and contributions from players like Jonathan Viera and Alberto Moleiro, who have been key on the field.


They have maintained a strong identity, with possession-based play and solid defense. They are the fourth team with the fewest goals conceded per match and the second with the most possession. However, they struggle to create opportunities, being the second team with the fewest shots per game.


Individual statistics reveal that players like Munir El Haddadi have excelled in fouls received and offsides, while figures like Sergi Cardona and Álvaro Vallés have been fundamental in recoveries and committed fouls, respectively. These data show a team that, despite difficulties, has managed to find the keys within its ranks to compete with grit and determination.


Álvaro Valles and Sergi Cardona are two players who could leave the club, with offers from England and other Spanish clubs, respectively. In addition, loan arrivals such as Perrone or Araujo have also made significant contributions to the Canarian club’s impressive season.



The work of UD Las Palmas in terms of player development from the youth categories is outstanding. The outlook for the development of young players at Unión Deportiva Las Palmas is promising. The club has a strong focus on training and developing talent through its youth academy. With specific programs and the support of the Fundación Canaria Unión Deportiva Las Palmas, young footballers have access to quality resources and training.


The Juvenil B, for example, has started the 2023/24 season with the support of significant figures from the club and a coaching staff dedicated to their development. This indicates that there is a clear path for young players to progress within the club and potentially become valuable members of the first team or attract interest from larger clubs.


The presence of performance programs and scholarships for young athletes also suggests a commitment to the education and well-being of the players, which is crucial for their comprehensive development as athletes.


The approach of Unión Deportiva Las Palmas to the development of young players is quite comprehensive and aligns with the practices of other Spanish and European clubs. Overall, football clubs in Europe tend to invest significantly in their academies and youth development programs, seeking to nurture talent from an early age.



Compared with other clubs, Las Palmas places particular emphasis on early identification and technical, tactical, physical, and psychological development of its players. This is reflected in their commitment to ongoing education and the well-being of young footballers.


In Spain, clubs like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are known for their world-renowned academies, La Masia and La Fábrica, respectively. These clubs have produced some of the world’s best talents thanks to their focus on technical training and playing philosophy.


At the European level, clubs like Ajax and Sporting are also prominent examples of institutions with a strong focus on youth development. These clubs have succeeded not only in producing players for their first teams but also in transferring players to larger clubs, demonstrating the quality of their training.


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In summary, Unión Deportiva Las Palmas follows a model similar to other successful clubs in Spain and Europe, with a holistic focus on the development of young players that covers technical, tactical, physical, and psychological aspects. This comprehensive approach is essential for long-term development and sustained success of both the players and the club.


The season is far from over, and UD Las Palmas has shown it can surprise and compete against the best, keeping alive the hope among its fans of achieving a successful stay in La Liga. With guidance from García Pimienta and the emerging talent of its squad, the team has the potential to continue growing and consolidating itself in the first division of Spanish football.


By: Juanjo Montero / @JJMont3ro

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Quality Sport Images – Getty Images