||El Malaga Club de Football in its present form is a relatively young club having been formed on the 29th June 1994. Before that it was known as Atletico Malagueño and was founded in 1948. From its first moments this team was affiliated with Club Deportivo Malaga whose main object was to train footballers for the first team. With the disappearance of CD Malaga in the summer of 1992, Atletico Malagueño, which was registered in it's own right, was able to take over the position that CD Malaga held representing the City of Malaga.
In their first campaign of 92/93, they played in Group 9 of the 3rd Division achieving promotion into Segunda B. The following season 93/94 posed financial problems for the team and they were relegated back to the 3rd Division and were at the point of disappearing from the football scene, when in 94/95 Federico Beltron and Fernando Puche came to their rescue financially. In December 93 there was a referendum regarding chenging the club's name to Málaga CF, which was unanimously voted for, and on 30th June 1994 the new name was made official.
The club did their apprenticeship in the Third and then the Second Division between 1994 and 1998, then under manager Joaquín Peiró made the jump to the First Division at the end of the 1998/99 season. They consolidated their position and comfortably held on to their First Division place in 1999/2000. In 2000/2001 right until the last moment they fought for the right to play in the UEFA.
During 2001/2002 there were many changes. Fernando Puche left and the Club's Presidency was taken over by Serafin Roldan, who was also the biggest shareholder. Malaga had to, once again, learn to become a united team as some of their key players had been sold to fund the Club. With the continued help of manager Joaquin Peiro, the team gelled and played some remarkable football. So much so they earned a place in the Intertoto, and undefeated in this competition, won a place in the UEFA Cup, seeded 25th.
Season 2002/3 saw the team playing some attractive football, and in the UEFA Cup beat the likes of Leeds United and AEK Athens to reach the quarter finals, where they bowed out to Boavista. The club finished a respectable 13th in the league but once again faced key players leaving during the close season, and the manager Peiro was replaced by Juande Ramos, who only stayed one season (which saw us beat Barcelona 5-1 at La Rosaleda), before he moved on to huge success at Sevilla.
The next two seasons saw the club finish a respectable mid table, but there was a scare in the 2004/5 season when up until Christmas it looked like Malaga were certs for the drop as manager Manzana struggled to find any sort of form for his team. He was replaced in January by the B team coach Antonio Tapia who worked wonders to get the team playing well again and climbed up to a tenth place finish. In fact the overall form of the side for the second half of that season, since Tapia had taken over, was only bettered by three clubs in the league.
During the 2005 close season the club lost the great midfield skills of Miguel Angel to rivals Real Betis and loan signing and prolific goalscorer Baiano decided to join Celta, but Tapia made some very promising signings, including the return of Salva, who had been second top scorer in the league with Malaga two seasons previously. During the January transfer window, two skillful Brazilians were signed, Bóvio and Gabriel, in the quest for Primera Liga survival, because unfortunately things hadn't gone the way anyone had hoped. Tapia was sacked in January 2006 after a long run of poor form that saw the club drop into the bottom three places in the league. The inexperienced Director of Football, Manolo Hierro replaced him, and was unfortunately unable to save the club from relegation to La Segunda. A sad situation that should never been allowed to happen by the owners of the club.
Just as CD Málaga had experienced prior to folding in 1992, Málaga CF were now in huge financial difficulty due to the way Roldán had been running the club, and it was put up for sale in the summer of 2006. The main interested party for a while was the Real Estate company Unicasa together with Málaga businessmen, and at one time there were runours that Málaga would become a 'nursery club' for Arsenal, but Ex Real Madrid Presdient Lorenzo Sanz emerged as the new owner, purchasing for €6m and taking on the club's 30 million euro debts. His son Fernando resigned as club captain, retired from playing and was placed as the new President. The Sanz family then set about making much needed changes to the way the club was run and brought in new players. So Málaga CF moved into new era with a great new stadium which had been redeveloped by the City Council from 2001 to 2006.
Fernando Sanz's first season was a troubled one. With the club owing so much money, they went into a form of administration to help with the crippling debts, and as a result high wage earning players had to be sold or loaned out, and Málaga were left to struggle through the season 2006/7 with a lack of top quality players. Muñiz took over from Alonso as manager in October, but the side spent the second half of the season trying to avoid relegation, which they did, gaining a necessary point from the penultimate game of the season to be safe.
The club's fortunes took a turn for the better during season 2007/8. Muñiz made 11 shrewd signings in the summer, all free transfers or loan players, some of the players turned out to be top quality and Málaga were never out of the top three places in La Segunda all season. A club record was set when the side won the first seven games in a row and looked fairly solid until the Christmas break. The second half of the season was very different though, form dipped and the supporters were dished up some terrible displays and shocking defeats, but despite this, Málaga gained promotion back to La Primera on the last day of the season, beating Tenerife 2-1 at home in front of a full house of 29,000 to finish in 2nd place in the league. Muñiz had already signed for Racing Santander and many fans were not too upset to see him go having almost thrown promotion away. Antonio Tapia returned to take the manager's position, his job was to consolidate and keep the club in La Primera.
Tapia, with Dely Valdez as his assistant, had a somewhat miraculous season 2008/9 with Málaga. Some good season long loan signings were made during the summer of 2008, and despite being the bookies' favourites to go straight back down again with a squad that cost not much more than one million euros, Tapia's side finished in 8th place after a very exciting season.
The bookies looked like they might be right after the first four games of the season, when no goals were scored and only one point was gained, putting Málaga in 19th place in La Primera. However, after scoring at home to Valladolid at the end of September, the team seems to 'click' and from then on it was a rapid rise to flirt with the European places for the rest of the season. Just a month after being in 19th place, the club were sitting proudly in 6th spot, and apart from a couple of weeks in 11th during November and December, Málaga were never out of the top 8 from the turn of 2009. That was an amazing achievement, supported by regular 20/25,000 home crowds and some amazing away support, none other than 3,000 Malaguistas at the Bernabeu to see the exciting 4-3 defeat by Real Madrid (courtesy of course, and typically, by the ref's two controversial penalties given against us!). Other memorable moments were the wins at rivals Sevilla and Real Betis. A marvelous season in La Primera!
Tapia left at the end of season 2008/9 to go to Real Betis, and Muñiz returned from Racing to take over the manager's post again.
This was a long suffering season for the fans which almost ended in disaster. The vast majority of supporters blamed Muñiz's inept management that took Málaga CF to the brink of relegation, which would've almost surely meant more deep financial problems for the club. It wasn't until the final moments of the last game of the season against Real Madrid at home, that Primera safety was guaranteed as Valencia scored a late winner against drop zone rivals Tenerife, ending any slight hope for the islanders to survive, and meaning Málaga, with an impressive but in the end non important 1-1 draw against Madrid stayed up by the skin of their teeth.
Unbeknown to the masses, President Fernando Sanz had been negotiating for several months for the possible sale of the club to a Qatari Sheikh. In hindsight, the look on Sanz's face at the final whistle of that last game of the season said that the deal was almost complete and everything had hinged on Málaga remaining a Primera club. Survival meant the club were indeed bought out by Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, the first Sheikh to invest in a Spanish club, for a total of 36 million euros including all debts. The new owner's plan is to slowly invest and build slowly but surely over the next 3 to 4 years with the aim of making Málaga CF a major Primera Liga club.
Málaga moved into a new era with a new manager, Jesualdo Ferreira, who had been very successful at FC Porto. However, his position only lasted two months when he was sacked as Málaga slipped into the bottom three in the table. He was replaced by one of the most successful managers in Spain in recent times, Manuel Pellegrini, who built Villarreal into a regular Champions League club and spent 2009-10 at Real Madrid, where he gained the record amount of points in a season for the club, but still lost out on the championship to Barcelona who gained three points more. He was only removed from his post because of the owner's wish to bring José Mourinho to Madrid.
However, the arrival of Pellegrini and the addition of Baptista and Demichelis to the squad did not change the club's league position despite a steady February, and Baptista, who looked like he was getting back to his old Sevilla form sustained a serious injury in training which kept him out of the side until mid April. By early March things looked very gloomy when a 7-0 deafeat at Real Madrid was followed by a shattering 0-1 home loss to fellow releagtion strugglers Osasuna and relegation looked a probability.
Vice President Ghubn had been away for many weeks and decided to return until the end of the season. The first thing he did was to have a 'clear the air' meeting in which the players were told that Pellegrini was staying and now was the time to fight together. The situation was somewhat helped by the players also being offered a huge bonus to stay up!
From that meeting onwards Málaga didn't look back, starting with a 2-0 win at Real Sociedad, taking 23 points from a possible 33, winning 7 drawing 2 and losing 2 (the last loss was a meaningless last game of the season against Barcelona having already reached safety). Málaga were the form team of La Liga at the end of the season but survival was still tight and close to the wire with other relegation battling sides all picking up form as well. The highlight of the survival run-in has to be the amazing 3-0 win at Atlético Madrid where Málaga looked every bit the side challenging for Europe, not Atlético!
So a survival party was held at La Rosaleda for the 2nd season running, and now the fans can hopefully look forward to their club featuring at the other end of the table having spent 60 million euros to bring in players like Van Nistelrooy, Cazorla Monreal, Mathijsen, Toulalan, Joaquín and Buonanotte, not to mention 6 million for potentially one of the stars of the future, 19 year old Isco from Valencia.
With the arrival of several top players, Pellegrini was now focused on taking his side to a Champions League place. For the whole season, Málaga were rarely out of the top 4 in La Primera, despite some poor away performances and financial storm clouds brewing towards Christmas time when players announced they weren't being paid on time. Other clubs complained they weren't being payed instalments due for transferred players, and the tax man was knocking at the door for his money too. This led to a transfer embargo for the January transfer window.
By the end of the season, after a twitchy run in to the end, on the pitch Pellegrini had done what he had set out to achieve which was 4th place and a chance to qualify for the Champions League Group Stage for the first time in the club's history. There were great celebrations on the last day of the 2011-12 campaign.
To qualify for the Champions League Group Stage Málaga had to beat Panathinaikos of Greece. This was done with ease with a 2-0 home 1st leg win and a 0-0 draw in Athens. Off the pitch, the club had problems, with Cazorla, Rondón and Mathijsen being sold in the summer following what it seemed a behind the scenes 'meltdown', The owner's plan was collapsing with backroom and financial problems. Pellegrini managed to persuade the rest of the squad to stay to take on the Champions League.
What a season the club were about to have. They were drawn with Milan, Zenit & Anderlecht in their group, and following an amazing 3-0 home win over the Russians Zenit, the club went on to take the group by storm, qualifying with 2 matches remaining by drawing 1-1 in Milan (having beaten them 1-0 at home already) and eventually winning the group with young Isco becoming a known star all over Europe.
The first knockout stage drew the club away to Porto, where the first below par Champions League performance was winessed by a huge travelling support (the support away had been terrific in the Group Stages as well, which earned the supporters the '12th Man' award at the end of the season). But Málaga only lost 1-0, so there was a chance to turn it around in the 2nd leg. And how they did. A 2-0 win sent the city into yet another celebratory night as the club moved into the Quarter Final stage. Dortmund were the next opponents and after a 0-0 home draw in the 1st leg, not many gave Málaga hope for the away leg in Germany in front of 65,000 of their fans.
This was to be the night of ultimate highs and lows when first Málaga went 1-0, then 2-1 up, moving into time added on with Dortmund needing 2 goals in 4 minutes to win the tie. What followed had to be the most depressing event seen and felt by any Málaga fan since CD Málaga went out of business. Málaga panicked, and let the Germans get a goal back. From the restart Málaga couldn't hold onto the ball with even more uncharacteristic panic setting in. With 4 players clearly offside Dortmund were allowed to get the 3-2 winner with seconds remaining, with Pellegrini's players stunned that the goal had been given. No words can describe that moment and when the final whistle blew.
So a Champions League Semi Final place was taken away but we can all live forever with so many amazing memories like beating Milan and Zenit at home, the easy win at Anderlecht, the fantastic draw at the San Siro, the glorious night against Porto and the way in which the players played in Germany before the cruel ending.
Málaga's thin squad meant that they were always going to struggle to finish 4th again (and when Monreal was sold in January to supply funds to pay off the taxman by the end of March, Pellegrini later commented that it meant the end of any hope of 4th place), but 5th or 6th was always on the cards. Málaga did finish 6th, but because of a ban imposed by UEFA in December 2012 for continueal failure of the club playing players, tax and other debts it meant the club would not be allowed to play in the Europa League in 2013-14. An appeal against the ban was over-ruled but a second suspended ban for a second season was lifted because the club had 'got it's house in order' and UEFA were satisfied by the end of March that all major debts had been cleared.
At the end of the season La Rosaleda saw a very emotional farewell to Manual Pellegrini who had been loved by everyone associated with the club, as he left to take over at Manchester City. Ironically Pellegrini had first come to Málaga because he was told he would be leading the rise of Málaga CF to be a huge European club with the stature and resources of 'Manchester City'. This plan came tumbling down the minute the owners were refused permission to buld a 65,000 seater stadium, the most important step in becoming a huge club. But continuing to not own their own stadium, Málaga now have to come 'back down to earth' with more moderate player signings. However, the club is still in far better shape from top to bottom, especially with marketing, than it was before the new owners took over.
So Málaga move into season 2013-14 and into yet another new era with Bernt Schuster taking over as manager. Thank you Manual Pellegrini for the most amazing season the club has ever achieved, a shame his promised project couldn't be completed. The club earned 32 million euros from the Champions League campaign. era
Málaga CF made some changes to the squad in 2013/14 to come in line with Financial Fair Play regulations, and started a sporting project including experienced and younger players to provide a promising future for the Blue and Whites.
German-born coach, Bernd Schuster, who won the League championship with Real Madrid in 2007/08, was in charge of the Blue and Whites throughout a difficult season, following the Club’s League table success of previous years.
The 2013/14 League campaign was full of highs and lows, good matches and losing streaks, hampering them from reaching the desired level of success. The team was eliminated from the Copa del Rey early on in the knockout stage, by Osasuna.
The big news during this year was the incorporation of La Academia players, Sergi Darder and Samuel to the first team, who were both fundamental when it came to scoring goals and their overall performance. Ignacio Camacho’s scoring ability was realised, as he got his fifth League goal with a powerful header.
The January transfer window saw the arrival of another important member of the team: Nordin Amrabat. The Dutch player of Moroccan origin arrived on loan from Galatasaray, and was a big part of the second round of the League competition.
The side had a good run of results in away games against rivals including Celta de Vigo, Osasuna and Real Betis, as well as a draw with reigning League champions, Atlético de Madrid at the Vicente Calderón stadium. The Blue and Whites finished the season in 11th position, and sealed their place in the First Division for the 8th season, matching the ‘Malaguista’ record for the number of consecutive seasons in the highest category of Spanish football.
The arrival of a young manager in Javi Gracia, fans saw a fresh attacking approach with a few exciting youngsters added to the first team.
Málaga stayed in the top seven in La Liga from late October until the final two games of the season when they finished in ninth place. Most supporters felt the squad were more than good enough to have qualified for the Europa League (seventh place was a qualifying spot).