Malaga footballThe up this week for the Costa del Sol’s foremost football club was their win in the UEFA Champions League played at La Rosaleda stadium in Málaga. They came from a 1-0 deficit to beat the 2004 winners Porto, which means that they now go forward to the quarter-finals, 2-1 on aggregate. The club will join the remaining two Spanish teams La Barca, Barcelona and Real Madrid in hoping to reach the finals to be played at Wembley in the United Kingdom in May. Their next game on the journey to the semi finals takes them to play Borussia Dortmund of Germany.

Los Boquerones, as they are known locally, have a strong following on the Costa del Sol. Not only amongst the Spanish but also the many ex-patriots living along the coast. Their success recently is not only down to their truly international players but also their coaching staff. This includes Manuel Pellegrini, their coach who originates from Chile. He has come from a very successful career in Chile where he was a member of the National team coaching side. He has brought to Málaga an array of highly talented players including those from Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

The down at this time for Málaga Football Club is the proposed ban imposed by UEFA for irregularities in their finances, mainly focused it is alleged, on the question of certain unpaid bills. There is an ongoing appeal on the ban which potentially could last four years. This would obviously spell disaster not only for Los Boquerones but for the thousands of their fans. Amongst these is Antonio Banderas, the club’s most famous fan, who has criticised UEFA for banning the Spanish club from future competition. After seeing the game last week, Antonio said that he hoped Málaga’s appeal against the ban at the court of arbitration for sport would be upheld. UEFA said in its ruling published in December that “due to the presence of significant overdue payables balances” the club was being sanctioned. Furthermore, the club was ordered to prove by the end of this month that no dues payables towards football clubs or their employees and creditors are outstanding. Quite rightly, Antonio Banderas comments that it was an excessively harsh decision that will have a negative effect on the Spanish league makes sound sense. He is hoping that the relevant parties analyse the situation with a cool head and give their backing to Málaga.

The fact is that the Costa del Sol club has beaten some of Europe’s elite clubs despite their institutional problems. Last Wednesday’s magnificent 2-0 victory came after the club beat Italy’s foremost football club Milan, on their way to topping their group. Banderas went on to say that getting past Porto into the last eight was an incredible triumph for the club after years of ups and downs.

Hopefully, the owner of Málaga football club, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, will act to clear up any outstanding financial considerations. He bought the club in 2010 and invested heavily to help them qualify for the champions league with a fourth placed finish last season. This saw the arrival of high profile international players that converted the club into a major sports presence. It also saw the commitment to opening up opportunities for young players from all over the province of Málaga through the club’s La Academia del Málaga club de Fútbol.

So, let’s wish Los Boquerones every good fortune for the future and the continued fall in support of its loyal fans including Antonio Banderas.


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