And it seems like it was yesterday. On this day, 10 years ago, the purchase of the Malaga from Fernando Sanz, then owner by Abdullah bin Nasser Al Than, was announced.i, a then unknown Qatari businessman. It was an operation with great media impact because it was the first Arab investor to land in Spanish football. The formal announcement was made at a spectacular press conference that was organized on the La Rosaleda lawn. A scenario was set up in which Fernando Sanz (the seller), Abdullah Al Thani (the buyer), Abdullah Ghubn, CEO (would also be vice president) and Javier Amantegui, attorney for 'Clifford Chance' who acted as negotiator in the purchase, appeared. with Sanz and who also worked as a translator for Al Thani and Ghubn. Al Thani was officially proclaimed owner of the club on July 27, that is, a month later, after the holding of an Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting. Abdullah Al Thani is the foreign leader who has spent the longest in a Spanish club and the president with the most campaign in Malaga in any of his denominations.
As we said the presentation was quite a show. A gala that brought together an unprecedented media display. With the aforementioned translation by Amantegui Ghubn, he made himself understood in a big way despite the fact that he did not speak a word of Spanish. “The amount of the purchase is 36 million euros and we assume the 14 million that is still missing from the bankruptcy debt,” he explained. Fernando Sanz He said “not know” if he would have any kind of role in the new organization chart of the club. I would not have. Al Thani mistake that he would have saved himself all his troubles if he had counted on him.
The image of the sheikh (sheikh in English) was sold colossally. A “prominent businessman” belonging to the Qatari royal family, director of one of the most important and diversified business conglomerates of this emirate. Also, that he dedicated part of his work to charitable activities. Aid for the disabled, and granting scholarships for young people without studies. Al Thani said a couple of little things that hooked the fans. “We want to make a competitive team” and “in three years Málaga can play the Champions League”.
Málaga had miraculously saved itself from relegation after drawing at La Rosaleda against Real Madrid (1-1) and being favored by the results of Xerez in Pamplona and Tenerife in Valencia. That miraculous stay, with the second lowest First budget (25.7 million euros), was celebrated as if it were an upgrade at the well-known Mana club. The first thing Al Thani did when he was to dismiss the coach, Juan Ramón Muñiz, despite having one more year of contract, in a maneuver greeted by the fans who, for the most part, did not appreciate the football proposed by the Asturian. In his place, the Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira was signed, who, with 1.8 million euros for each of the three seasons he signed, became the third highest paid coach only behind Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho. Those first movements and the words of Abdullah Ghubn ignited the illusion of the ‘fans’ as Al Thani said (and says). Ghubn, talkative, and with no hair on his tongue said that Malaga was going to be “Chelsea on the Costa del Sol”.
And little by little the master lines of the new owners became known in such a way that people had the impression that Mr. Marshall had arrived. From the pressures, to the millions; from austerity to ostentatious spending, from the 25.7 million budget to 75. The never before happened. The world press was talking about Al Thani's alleged interest in some of the best footballers of the moment without expense repair. Javier Pastore, Samuel Eto, Alexis Sánchez, Andrea Pirlo, Gatusso and … Messi! Did Al Thani really have the 150 million euros that the Argentine star of clause had at that time?
It was a summer of madness, changes and a brutal growth of the club. The stadium was reformed, improving its infrastructures (grass, changing rooms, press room, etc.), closed-door training was imposed to make the press angry, new departments were created, and executives were recruited on the heel of a checkbook and signings were made in exorbitant transfers. , broke the record of subscribers reaching over 26,000 …
But the ‘Chelsea of the Costa del Sol’ passed hard to stay in First Division. Then came the great year of the Champions League and the slow, but unstoppable fall. Defaults, threats from players' squad, transfers, unscrupulous printing funds, poor owner management, Twitter, plus Twitter, LaLiga warnings, embarrassing descent to Second, tension, judicial intervention … In 10 years Malaga has gone from ‘Chelsea on the Costa del Sol’ to decomposition.