Skip to main content

The incredible love story of Manolo Mapelli

Manolo has been a Málaga CF fan for over 35 years. True to his colours, he has barely missed his appointment with La Rosaleda despite having been fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for more than a decade.

La Rosaleda has an area for those with reduced mobility on the corner of Preferencia and Fondo Norte.  Numerous Loyal Malaguistas accompany their team from this location specially adapted for them. Manolo Mapelli has held one of these seats since 2012, when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This disease affects the neurons, the brain stem and the spinal cord that control the movement of voluntary muscles.

Manolo's story is one of love and loyalty to his colours, one that inspires. His family welcomed us into his home, full of Blue and White scarves and balloons, as well as a Malaguista cake, to tell us how Manolo lives his Malaguismo. His sister, Paz told us that since he was little, just five years old, he accompanied his older brother José Luis to the matches at Martiricos. Since then, Manolo has developed a Malaguista feeling that is as deep as it is beautiful. According to his siblings, it “gives him life” and encourages him “to keep going.” Manolo, as well as accompanying the team in their home games, has also cheered them on away from the Costa del Sol. Despite the long journey, the Mapelli family was present in Porto!

Manolito, his 11-year-old son, in addition to inheriting his name, lives Malaguismo with the same intensity as his father and has accompanied him to football matches since he was three years old. In January 2012 Manolito was born and in December of the same year his father was diagnosed. Despite this, the disease has not stopped this feeling passing from generation to generation.

A little over 10 years ago, Manolo was diagnosed with ALS. The news affected a large part of his life, but it never prevented him from continuing to enjoy his passion for Málaga CF. Today, despite the journey that travelling to the stadium entails, he continues to accompany his team whenever he can. The Mapelli family prepares the van, coordinates with the police, La Rosaleda security and the volunteers from the MCF Foundation and they come to enjoy football as a family.

Due to his illness, his communication is reduced to a slight eye movement recognised by Antonio Moreno, his carer. When asked if he is going to continue accompanying the team at La Rosaleda and if he believes we’ll get out of this situation, his answer was clear. Yes, of course.

Despite the difficulties, he still wants to visit the stadium and cheer on his team. Manolo, with his presence at La Rosaleda, is a true inspiration for the club.

Thank you, Manolo, for always cheering on your team. Thank you for your Memory, your Commitment and your Faith. Thank you for Loving Our Own.