Unprofessional Foul


August 28, 2009

La Liga Preview: Malaga CF

Malaga CF

Malaga CF

We’ve done England. We’ve done Germany. We’ve done France, Holland, Scotland, and even Azerbaijan. Now that all the money and headline-grabbing starlets are moving to Spain, we are too– in our comprehensive guide to all things La Liga.

Apologies to Sid Lowe, who wishes he could be as knowledgeable as we are. Without further ado… viva España!

Malaga Club de Futbol S.A.D. (shortened to simply Malaga CF), also known as the Boquerones (the Anchovies), are a Spanish club from the region of Andalucia.

Playing at La Rosaleda (capacity of 28,693) under the direction of gaffer Juan Ramon Muniz, Malaga CF in their current incarnation were established in 1994 and began play in the Tercera Division. Prior to that the club acted only as the reserve team of Club Deportivo Malaga, which was dissolved in 1992. Despite their relatively short existence, Malaga CF have won an Intertoto Cup (2002) and spent most of their time in the Primera Division. They only spent their first year in the Tercera, moved up to Segunda B for 3 seasons, then Segunda for 2 season, were relegated and immediately promoted again and have remained in the Primera since that time. The former home of Paulo Wanchope (“La Cobra” from Los Ticos), the club were also managed by Juande Ramos in the 2003/2004 season (seriously, has Ramos managed every Spanish side in existence).

Last season the club finished in 8th place in La Liga, with 55 points on a 15-10-13 record with a -4 goal differential. More importantly, the side had no impressive wins or draws to point to as hope for the coming season. Malaga CF have seen significant turnover since last season, losing starting GK Inaki Goitia (23 matches, 116 saves and 36 goals conceded) and defender Robson (34 matches, 1 goal and 1 assist, along with 13 YCs a 1 RC). More importantly, transfers and returned loan players have decimated the midfield, with Eliseu (31 starts and 5 substitutions, 7 goals and 6 assists) off to Lazio, Javier Callega (30 matches) moving to Osasuna, Perez Nacho (16 starts and 18 substitutions) returning to Getafe, Lolo (4 goals in 23 matches) returning to Sevilla, and Miguel Angel (16 matches) loaned to Gimnastic. The club has also lost striker Adrian, who had 3 goals and 2 assists in 19 matches started and 9 substitutions.

Defensively, Malaga CF retained Jesus Gamez (4 assists, 11 YCs and 1 RC in 35 matches), Helder Rosario (23 matches) and Ivan Cuadrado (14 matches), while bringing in Patrick Mtiliga from NAC Breda. They will play in front of GK Francesc Arnou, who started 13 matches last season (47 saves and 23 goal conceded), and new signing Gustavo Munua, who played in 27 matches for Deportivo La Coruna last season. The only remaining striker from last season, Nabil Baha (9 goals in 35 matches), will be aided by Fernando Forestieri (on loan from Genoa; 5 goals in 19 matches on loan to Vicenza last season), Valmiro Lopez Rocha (“Valdo”, on loan from Espanyol, where he had 5 goals in 42 matches), Edinho (7 goals in 25 matches for AEK Athens last season), and Victor Nsofor Obinna (on loan from Inter; 1 goal in 9 matches last season).

Despite their losses in the midfield, Malaga CF maintain the services of Duda (5 goals and 11 assists in 33 matches), Apono (9 goals and 4 assists in 30 matches), and Albert Martos Luque (8 goals and 3 assists in 16 matches and 16 substitutions). As back-up, the club brought in Jordi Pablo Ripolles (20 matches for Villareal), Selim ben Achour (2 goals in 10 matches for Al Qadsia Kuwait), and Xavi Torres (6 goals in 58 matches for the Barcelona B side).

Overall, Malaga CF have lost a significant number of starters and replaced those players with some unproven talent. While these younger, less experienced players may be keen to show what they are capable of, it is likely that will struggle to come together and play as a unified squad for the first few months. With the rise of several other clubs in La Liga this season, a slow start could send Malaga to the bottom half of the table. Let’s call it 14th.

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The NY Kid