The Spanish La Liga has been dominated in recent seasons by both Madrid teams and Barcelona but just a few seasons previously, Malaga also threatened to become of the leading teams in that league. In June 2010 Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani from the ruling Qatari family became the new owner with optimism that new investment would be forthcoming offering the chance of continued success for the football team. A glance at the current league table suggests that the opposite case may apply with Malaga firmly entrenched at the foot of La Liga.
Malaga were founded in their present form as late as 1994, although they did exist as CD Malaga from 1948. The team did enjoy some modest success until the Al Thani takeover, soon after which current Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini became manager and he guided the club to fourth position in the La Liga season of 2011-12.
There followed a Champions League campaign during which Malaga were eventually beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Borussia Dortmund with the Spanish team leading twice in the second leg before the German outfit scored twice in added time.
That was to prove a pivotal moment for Malaga as Pellegrini moved to England, the club was refused permission to build a 65,000 capacity stadium and then a ban from playing in European competition was enforced due to financial irregularities.
In subsequent seasons Malaga finished 11th and 9th in La Liga and it appeared that the AL Thani may have been losing some interest with Venezuelan investor Edmundo Kabchi allegedly providing the club with more funds than the Qatar ownership.
For the current season, current manager Javi Gracia has promised to play attacking football but the team has failed to score a goal in 10 of their 12 league games with just two victories registered. The most disturbing aspect of their campaign to date is the lack of any goals netted on their travels and with only one point earned when denying Real Madrid at Bernabeu via a 0-0 scoreline. It cannot be easy viewing for away supporters of Malaga yet there have been only two games in which two or more goals have been conceded.
October did offer some hope for Malaga with home victories against Real Sociedad and Deportivo la Coruna but November has followed the same pattern as August and September with no goals scored and supporters becoming ever more despairing.
Five of the seven Malaga defeats this term have been incurred via a 1-0 scoreline and there will be pressure during the January transfer window to recruit sufficient firepower to prevent relegation during spring. That month will also provide evidence as to whether the Qatar ownership is serious in their determination to deliver success for Malaga and to provide the appropriate funding to achieve that aim.
Latest posts by John Welsh (see all)
- The Premier League title destination remains uncertain in an unpredictable season to date - December 31, 2015
- England win opening test as South African batting frailties are exposed - December 30, 2015
- Cue Card and Sprinter Sacre erase the nightmares of their miserable 2013 Christmas - December 29, 2015