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Los Albicelestes 01: From the bottom

nestor on 15 November, 2016

Málaga Club de Fútbol or simply Málaga, is a Spanish football club based in Málaga, Spain. Málaga is one of the southernmost cities of the country. Regarding the Population, in Andalusia it's the number two right after Sevilla and is ranked as number 6 in Spain.

Since the season 2016/2017 Málaga has played more seasons in the Primera División (35) than in the Segunda División (34).

In the early 2000s, Málaga were a club famous for their youth and top quality players. They made a solitary appearance in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2002, clinching their only official trophy. Málaga's run in the UEFA Cup ended in a defeat on penalties in the quarter-finals to Boavista.

A few years later, under the management of Manzano, they were relegated to the Segunda División as they finished bottom of the league with only 24 points. The first season down was quite difficult, but in the end, they managed to survive this one with a disappointing 15th place. In the second season, they finished second, which resulted in a promotion to the Primera División in the season 2007-2008. The season began impressively, with a run of seven straight victories. Málaga seemed to be on track for promotion but, after another slump in form, they were overtaken as leaders by Numancia. Finally, they secured the promotion on the last day with 2-1 victory against Teneriffe.

Due to the club's economic problems, the at time president Fernando Sanz found investments at Doha in Qatar to launch an ambitious project, entering in conversations with sheikh Abdullah ben Nasser Al Thani. On 11 June 2010, after week of negotiations, the current president Al Thani took over the club. Following this was the signing of prominent players like Salomón Rondón and Eliseu.

A few month later while being on a relegation place the club decided to appoint Manuel Pellegrini as manager. In the next season players like Ruud van Nistelrooy, the ex-Lyon French midfielder, Jérémy Toulalan, Santi Cazorla, the most expensive signing in the club's history, joined.

In the following season, less known players (at that time) like Isco, Joaquín and left back Nacho Monreal were key for the club when the club qualified for first time in its history for the Champions League after finishing the 2011–12 La Liga campaign on the fourth place after Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

Two late goals (91. and 93. minute) by Dortmund saw them being eliminated in the quarter finals of the Champions Cup after some lovely performances. The following season, Málaga was banned by UEFA, along with other clubs for its debt.

I've been appointed by Nasser Al Thani at the end of the season 2016/2017 after they just stayed away from the relegation.

Squad

guardametas

Goalkeepers: With Guillermo Ochoa and Carlos Kameni there's quite some quality in this area. I thought about selling of one of the two guys, but finally I opted for keeping the both.

centrales

Central Defenders: With the 37y old Weligton, Balanta, Tonelli and Bakary Kone there were not enough players to players to play with 3 center backs. So, I decided to sign Rob Holding on a loan deal.

laterales

Wing Backs: Rosales and Ricca provided more than enough quality for the wings (3.5 and 4 star ratings). With Miguel Torres and Ivan Rodriguez there was also enough playing material for rotating the first team players a bit, so there was no addition is this area.

centro

Central Midfielders: With Camacho and Recio there is enough quality for the first but after them there is quite some quality missing. With Andres Cubas declining our offer and moving to Porto, I decided to snap up Lucas Silva from Real Madrid for a fee of £3.1M to be able to give Camacho and Recio some pauses during the season. As another backup option I signed Frederik Oldrup Jensen from Odd as well, as I will try to offload Pablo Fornals in the future as he doesn't match the player I look for my midfield positions.

puntas

Strikers: With former FC Barcelona player Sandro, who joined Málaga on a Bosman in 2016, and Kuki we already two promising strikers in our ranks. In order to have enough strikers (while Keko will be trained as false nine) for 3 striker formation, I added another new face: The FM wonderkid Adalberto Peñaranda joined us from a one year loan deal. The idea is to have Kuki, Sandro Ramirez and Peñaranda as main strikers with the rest as backup and rotation players.

With the sales of Jony, Tighadouini, Cifuentes, Jurado and Gonzalo Castro we made a total profit of around 10 millions during the first transfer window. Which allows us to have a balance of around £40,000,000

Finance

As you see the finances are solid. In the history Malaga had some troubling with debts, but luckily this is currently not the case. Thanks to Juanpi, who was sold for £22,000,000 to Man City before I signed up as manager. Only the sale of Isco to Real Madrid with a total value of 30,000,000 has brought more money to La Rosaleda.

Season 1

One of my first actions as manager of Málaga was, that I renewed the contract of Kuki ito increase the minimum release clause from 9 to 20 millions.

You never managed in Spain? Every player in Spain needs a minimum fee in his contract. To make sure you don't lose any good player for a (too) small amount as manager of a smaller club you need to track the progress of your players closely.

With the board looking for a mid-table position and the bookmakers seeing us around the 10th place the goals for my first season at La Rosaleda was set. We started with a home game against Valencia. Not an easy job but I still hoped to score a positive result. We played quite well, dominated them but were unable to score. That's why we lost 1-2 to a efficient Valencia side. The attacking quality improved in the second game against Gijon, so we managed to get our first 3 points of the season.

august

In the first game after the international break we managed to get our second victory with a clean sheet in a row with a 3-0 against La Coruña. One week later we lost to a strong Sevilla 0-1. The 4-1 victory was, so far, the best game of the season. Peñaranda finally started to score and the fact that we had to play some time with 10 men made it even more impressive.

september

Thanks to wins against Bilbao, Granada, San Sebastian, Teneriffe we managed to get 4 straight win in row before losing to Barcelona and Levante.

october

After we came managed to come back to the winning side with an important 4-1 win against Valladolid. After this game a tough game away against Atleti awaited us. It was a hard both teams wanted to win it so badly, but luckily Recio scored a goal just before the match ended in the 89th minute. Against Celta Vigo we added another important 3 points.

november

Now it was time to travel to the Santiago Bernabeu to face the leaders Real Madrid. They had been playing some great football so far, but I was confident to play a good match, like we did against Atleti and Barcelona earlier this season. The game did start well, Adalberto Peñaranda scored a early goal (5th minute) and we weren't allowing the leaders to much. But then Madrid got awarded a penalty before the break and Recio was stupid enough to receive his second yellow card of the match before I saw Cristiano scoring the equalizer from the point. In the second half, we had no chance with 10 men and in the end, we lost 1-4, our highest loss so far.

december

December was clearly the month of Sandro. He delivered some astonishing performances: It all started with the game against Betis Sevilla, in which he scored 4 goals, to set a record on goals scored in a single match. In total he scored a total of 7 goals in 5 appearances during December

table After the first 6 month at La Rosaleda we finished 3rd in the season, looks like we are going to finish clearly above the expectations and fight for international place.

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