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The big name players who played for Malaga CF pre-decline

Friday 1st December 2017

In June 2010, after a substantial period of financial difficulties, Spanish side Malaga CF was taken over by Abdullah Al Thani. He is a member of the Qatar ruling family and wanted to use his wealth to make the Costa Del Sol club a giant in Spain. He initially appointed former Jesualdo Ferreira as manager, but later replaced him with Manuel Pellegrini. Numerous big names signed for Malaga as a result of Al Thani's takeover.

Here are the players who swapped their respective clubs to play for the Boquerones (the Anchovies).

Martin Demichelis

The signing of the Argentina international was regarded as a big coup for Malaga. He joined from Bayern Munich for just €2.7 million and became a key part of the defence. Now 36, Demichelis has re-joined Malaga after spells at Atletico Madrid and Manchester City.

Julio Baptista

The Brazil international joined Malaga in 2011 for just over €2 million. The striker had previously played for Sevilla, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Roma before joining the La Liga club. Malaga's ability to attract big names like Baptista showed their owner's had serious intentions of making them a force to be reckoned with in Spain.  

Ruud Van Nistelrooy

In preparation for the 2011/12 season, a campaign in which Malaga finished fourth in the league and qualified for the Champions League, they made a number of big signings. They started off with Ruud Van Nistelrooy. The former PSV, Manchester United and Real Madrid striker signed on a free transfer from Hamburg.

Jeremy Toulalan

Malaga completed the signing of France international Toulalan, which surprised many Lyon fans as he had played at the club for five seasons. He left Spain in 2013 to move back to Ligue 1 with AS Monaco for just €4.5 million. Toulalan was a key player in Malaga's midfield during his two seasons.

Santi Cazorla

Another big name signing for Malaga was Santi Cazorla from rivals Villarreal for €21 million. He scored nine goals in his one season before leaving to join Premier League side Arsenal in 2012 for £17.1 million.


They did not know it at the time but when Malaga signed Isco from Valencia they had signed a future star. After scoring 17 goals in two seasons and putting in some dazzling displays in the Champions League, Isco left to join Real Madrid in 2013 for around €30 million.


After playing over 150 games for Valencia, the Spanish international left to join Malaga for a fee of €4 million. He became a key player over the next few seasons but left to join Fiorentina in 2013.

Nacho Monreal

Now at Arsenal, Monreal made his name during his two years with Malaga having signed from Osasuna for €5.4 million.

After signing those big-name players and getting to the quarter-final stage of the Champions League, Malaga was banned by UEFA the following season due to debts. It resulted in a mass exodus. After subsequent years of mid-table mediocracy, the Spanish side are now in the La Liga relegation zone and may well be playing second division football next season.

Harry Mail

A big Hull City fan from Manchester. Keep an eye on leagues across Europe, the MLS and non-league in England.

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