CD Tenerife and their European exotic footballing life in the Canary Islands

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To play football in Spain can be thrilling, but few can imagine what a fantastic life it would be to actually play at the highest level and be at a canary island at the same time. CD Tenerife from the city of Santa Cruz have over the years been a team of the highest league and the second tier in Spanish football and their main rival is Las Palmas from the island of Gran Canaria, but still very distant from most opponents in the footballing family of Spain.

Looking back in history some great players have been playing for CD Tenerife and one of their most recent stars is Ayoze Perez currently with Leicester City, but also a player that has a past at Tenerife and as we all know being with Newcastle United for a number of seasons. Perez played for CD Tenerife first team from 2012 to 2014, before joining The Toons. He is a resident of Tenerife and today among the star players in the Premier League.

Some might remember Dutch international forward Roy Makaay who also had a brief spell with the club, joining from Vitesse and sold to Deportivo La Coruna. Makaay played at Tenerife from 1997 to 1999 at a time when the club was well established in the top flight.

Swedish goalkeeper Bengt Andersson played for CD Tenerife from 1996 to 1998. Anderson joined IFK Gothenburg after his Canary adventure and became a solid first choice. He had other spells at several Swedish clubs and a couple of loans to play in Norway as well.

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Gaku Shibasaki is a Japanese footballer who had a brief stint with Tenerife before moving on to other clubs in Spain, joining from Kashima Antlers. He has represented Getafe, Deportivo La Coruna and at the moment on the books of Leganes. To date 48 caps for Japan.

Shaq Moore is today among the players at Tenerife. The USA international joined the club from Levante in 2019 and has established himself as a first choice. Former Cameroon international Daniel Kome did also play at Tenerife, adding up 90 games and scoring 6 goals being his last club in football before retiring from the game in 2011.

Former German international Oliver Neuville started his professional footballing journey in Switzerland with Servette and from there joining Tenerife. After playing in the Canary’s for two years 1996 to 1997, he joined Hansa Rostock in Germany, later making his breakthrough in the German national team and playing on at Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen and Arminia Bielefeld. Neuville added up 69 full caps and scoring 10 goals for Germany over a period of 10 years.

Among a number of Argentinians who have played for Tenerife in the past, Pablo Paz, Christian Bassedas and Martin Posse are three notable men who all contributed at a number of arenas over the years. Australian international Aurelio Vidmar also played for Tenerife from 1997 to 1998. Vidmar played in a number of countries and represented Feyenoord in Holland as probably the most prominent clubs alongside Tenerife.

A player to remember is also Honduras international Gilberto Yearwood, who had a great career, representing his country 46 times, spending most of his career in Spain, and from 1983 to 1984 playing for Tenerife.

Looking at managers you will find some of the finest in the game, including former Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes and former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez, both of them coaching the club when they had Primera status.

Today Tenerife play in the 2nd tier of Spanish football with a group of players and a manager that is not on the top map of the game, and currently it looks a bit grim being close to the relegation zone, but a last win v. Real Zaragoza was important in their chase for safety.

Not to forget Aitoz Sanz a 36 year old midfielder who has been with the club since 2013 and to date played 220 league games for CD Tenerife. A record to be proud of in todays game of chopping and changing.

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