Málaga Club de Fútbol’s financial constraints led President and major shareholder, Fernando Sanz, to look for investors. He travelled to Doha (Qatar) to meet Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, a well-known businessman from the Qatari Royal Family. After the sale of shares, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani was announced as the new owner of Málaga Club de Fútbol on 25th June 2010, however he wasn’t officially named as President until the General Shareholders Meeting on 27th July. The new Board of Administration was configured with Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani as President, Abdullah Ghubn as Vice President and Adviser, and Sheikh Nasser Al-Thani as third advisory member. José Carlos Pérez Fernández and Francisco Martín Aguilar continued to represent the Club, as members of the Advisory Board.
Following this first season of transition, where there were numerous changes to all parts of the Club, Málaga Club de Fútbol took a step forward in their bid to become an international entity in 2011/12. The agreement with UNESCO, signed on 1st June 2011, converted the Club into an ambassador of peace, equality and sporting values amongst young people all over the world.
The arrival of high-profile players and international recognition, has converted Málaga Club de Fútbol into a major sports structure, with the highest level of growth of any European team, under the presidency of Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani. The commitment to training in La Academia del Málaga Club de Fútbol, on an academic, personal and sporting level for young players all over Málaga province, is a fundamental part of the project.
During the 2011/12 season, on 9th February 2012, José Carlos Pérez Fernández, a fine example of professionalism and unconditional love for Málaga, passed away. He led the team under the denominations of Club Deportivo Málaga and Málaga Club de Fútbol. Involved and very passionate about the Club, he defended the Blue and Whites tirelessly until the day he died. A tribute to Pérez was held in La Rosaleda on 12th February 2012, in an emotional League encounter, which ended in a victory for Málaga Club de Fútbol against RCD Mallorca (3-1).
After a brilliant season, which the ‘Malaguistas’ enjoyed with their team, on 13th May 2012, Manuel Pellegrini’s team achieved the highest classification in Málaga history, after they beat Sporting de Gijón in La Rosaleda (1-0) in the last League match of the season. Their fourth place in the League saw them qualify for the Champions League play-offs in 2012/13. Two weeks before, the team was guaranteed a place in European football. For the second time in the history of Málaga football, the first directly, Málaga will be taking part in continental competition. Al-Thani’s project has achieved its first goal in just two years.
The 2012/13 season was an historic year for Málaga CF. The team colours adorned some of the greatest stadiums in Europe, and the boys were a whisker away from reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after defeating mighty rivals including Panathinaikos, Zenit St. Petersburg, AC Milan and FC Porto. A serious refereeing error in the return leg of the quarter-final match against Borussia Dortmund prevented Málaga CF from becoming one of the top four teams in Europe. Despite this crushing defeat, the ‘Malaguista’ fans enjoyed an unforgettable year in the UEFA Champions League, and also saw their team defeat Real Madrid in a League match for the very first time, and match up to FC Barcelona in a Copa del Rey knock-out game.
After seven consecutive years of being in the First Division, Málaga Club de Fútbol were relegated to the Second Division on 30th April 2006, following their defeat against Racing de Santander at La Rosaleda. The Club was entering a new phase, as Fernando Sanz, the former first team captain, took over as President on 1st August 2006 from Serafín Roldán, after he completed the pre-season as a player in the Cartaya stadium (Huelva).
Following several months of profound restructuring of the team, and attempting to resolve the Club’s poor financial situation, the new directors were forced, by law, to re-float the Club on 27th November 2006. This was recognised as ‘exemplary’ by organisations and sporting institutions, and on 12th June 2008, Málaga Club de Fútbol signed an agreement with creditors, which allowed them to manage their debt and look to the future with optimism.
The first team was holding its breath on the return to the Second Division (2006/07), and couldn’t relax until the penultimate League match, against Cádiz in La Rosaleda, to secure their place in Football’s Silver Division, on 9th June 2007. However, contrary to popular opinion, in 2007/08 Málaga Club de Fútbol, led by Juan Ramón López Muñiz, Sporting Director and coach, started the competition with seven consecutive wins, and were a strong candidate for promotion.
The team wasn’t promoted until their last match on 15th June 2008, with a victory against C.D. Tenerife in La Rosaleda. They returned to the First Division three days after the Club’s financial future was safeguarded. Málaga fans took to the streets in celebration as Málaga Club de Fútbol had once again returned to the elite.
On their return to the First Division, the Martiricos outfit achieved a record number of points in the first round, and second best position in the history of Málaga football in this Division (eighth) – the same as 2000/01 and 1971/72 and 1973/74, when they finished in seventh place. As well as playing excellent football, the return of Antonio Tapia allowed the Club and its fans to keep their European dream alive throughout the majority of the championship.
However, after a great year, the Club again went through a tough time. In 2009/10, the Blue and Whites had to wait until the last match to maintain their place in the First Division, as they were stuck in a tie with four other teams, and couldn’t get out of the relegation zone. Málaga Club de Fútbol faced Real Madrid – determined to snatch the League title from Barcelona – however the support from fans in La Rosaleda helped the team live one of their most memorable days in recent history. The draw on 16th May 2010, along with the other results, meant the Costa del Sol team was staying in the First Division. The tears of joy throughout the stadium will be remembered for years to come.
Following another memorable season in the elite (2000/01), Serafín Roldán, the Club’s largest shareholder, was announced as the new President, following Fernando Puche’s resignation at the end of the season.
In the summer of 2002, following another fantastic season in the First Division, in which they finished tenth, Málaga Club de Fútbol was inscribed in the now extinct UEFA Intertoto Cup. The champions of this competition were given a direct place in the UEFA Cup. After eliminating Gent (Belgium), Willem II (Holland) and Villareal CF, Joaquín Peiró’s team achieved Andalucía and Málaga’s first international title on 27th August 2002.
With their passport to play in Europe, for the first time in the history of Málaga football, Málaga Club de Fútbol made their debut in the UEFA Cup on 10th September 2002 away to Zelejnicar (Bosnia). The Blue and Whites were living their dream, with a great performance in the knock-out stages against Amica Wronki (Poland), Leeds United (UK) and AEK Athens (Greece), until they were eliminated in the Quarter Finals against Boavista (Portugal) in a penalty shoot-out.
Joaquín Peiró’s brilliant career in the dugout, which included 152 First Division matches, 42 in the Second Division, 15 in the Copa del Rey, six in the UEFA Intertoto Cup and 10 in the UEFA Cup, came to an end after the 2002/03 season. A few days later, on 29th June 2003, the Blue and Whites reserve team, under Antonio Tapa (then called Málaga B, now Atlético Malagueño) achieved promotion to the Second Division, something never done before by a reserve team in Andalucían football.
The success of the reserve team saw them take part in the Spanish Youth Championship (Under-18’s), the final of which was held in Cambrils (Tarragona). The team, led by Manolo Fernández, was proclaimed champions after they defeated R.C.D. Espanyol (2-0) on Sunday 11th May 2003.
After five seasons, in 2003/04, a new face could be seen in the first team’s dug out: Juande Ramos. Málaga Club de Fútbol were the only Club in Europe to have the first team in the First Division, and the reserve team in the Second during this season. On 30th August 2003, Antonio Tapia’s Blue and Whites second team made their debut in the silver division against Unión Deportiva Almería. Málaga and Málaga B (now Atlético Malagueño) alternated their matches in La Rosaleda. Both teams stayed up in their respective categories that year.
Gregorio Manzano took over from Juande Ramos as coach of the first team, and after a poor run of results, was replaced by the reserve team coach, Antonio Tapia, who turned the team around and saw them remain in the First Division. Antonio Tapia’s promotion to the first team gave José Mari Bakero the chance to coach the second team, and he also achieved his goal of keeping the team in the Second Division. Another year, and Málaga Club de Fútbol were in both the First and Second Division.
However, after seven consecutive seasons in the elite, a record for Málaga football in over a hundred years, the team was relegated in 2005/06. Antonio Tapia and Manolo Hierro were in the dug out for the first team, and Juan Carlos Añon and ‘Lobo’ Carrasco for the second team. Neither team was able to avoid relegation, so the first team moved down to the Second Division, and the reserve team to Second Division B.
On 29th June 1994, under President Federico Beltrán, Club Atlético Malagueño became Málaga Club de Fútbol. S.A.D, the first team to be a ‘Sociedad Anónima Deportiva’ in the history of Málaga football.
As Málaga Club de Fútbol, the Blue and Whites played their first official match in Adra on 4th September 1994. Following a historic season, in which Antonio Benitez’s team remained undefeated, they were promoted to Second Division B on 28th June 1995, following the last League match against Jerez de los Caballeros in La Rosaleda.
Two years later, days before the start of the 1997/98 season, Fernando Puche took over from Federico Beltrán as President. The aim was to see the Club back in the elite after two seasons on the verge of promotion to the Second Division. The team was strengthened and now in the hands of Asturias-born Ismael Díaz. The Blue and Whites achieved first place in group four of the bronze division, and began the group stages with a victory. However two subsequent defeats saw them having to wait for other teams’ results to achieve promotion. On 28th June 1998, following an epic victory against Tarrasa, with a goal difference of three, and the draw between Talavera and Beasaín, Málaga Club de Fútbol were promoted to the Second Division.
It was a meteoric rise to the silver division for the Martiricos Club. During their first season in the Second Division, Joaquín Peirós team achieved promotion with three matches still left to play, after their victory against Albacete in La Rosaleda on 30th May 1999. The Blue and Whites were proclaimed champions of the Second Division for the fourth time, whilst Brazil’s Catanha was named as the top goal scorer of this Division, for the first time in Málaga’s history, as he’d scored 25 goals (tied with Sequeiros, from Atlético de Madrid B). His dream came true, when Málaga returned to the First Division ten years later.
Málaga Club de Fútbol’s brilliant performance continued into the First Division. The team secured their place in the ‘League of the Stars’ for another season, with four games left to play (1999/00). During the team’s debut in the First Division, Catanha made Málaga history by scoring the most goals in this Division in one season (24).
Months before the disappearance of CD Málaga, the Directors disassociated CD Málaga and Club Atlético Malagueño, the then reserve team, to continue the Málaga football tradition as the city’s first team.
During this period of transition, and before the Club became Málaga Club de Fútbol, Club Atlético Malagueño competed in the Third Division in 1992/93, where they were promoted to bronze level of Second Division B. However, the precarious economic situation hindered their plans, and they were relegated to the Third Division in 1993/94.
Presidents of Club Atlético Malagueño: Antonio Domínguez and José Antonio Ruiz Guerra.
Club Atlético Malagueño coaches: Fernando Rosas, Antonio Montero 'Nene', Francisco Javier Ortíz 'Kempes', Ricardo Albis, Voltaire García and Pepe Sánchez.
Club Atlético Malagueño players: Bravo, Basti, Pepelu, Jesule, Servia, Paco Pérez, Richard and Burgos.
The presentation of Club Deportivo Málaga, and the official inauguration of La Rosaleda stadium, both took place on 14th September 1941. CD Malacitano changed its name, on 8th September 1941, again using the city’s name, thanks to a proposal from Vice-President José Soriano Alba. The first match between CD Málaga and Sevilla FC, in La Rosaleda stadium, ended in a victory for the Blue and Whites (3-2) in front of 8,000 people.
For more than half a century, CD Málaga put their stamp on football in the city, as they reached the highest category, the First Division, for 20 seasons. They completed 27 seasons in the Second Division and four in the Third.
Alternating between the First and Second Division gave the team the highest number of promotions and relegations in national football, a total of 11 (48/49, 51/52, 53/54, 61/62, 64/65, 66/67, 69/70, 75/76, 78/79, 81/82 and 87/88). The record number of consecutive seasons in Málaga football in the highest category (five) was established in the 70’s, where they also reached the highest position in the League, seventh, (1971/72 and 1973/74).
In 1948, CD Málaga’s reserve team was born. A year later, Pedro Bazán was named as the best striker in one match in the history of Málaga football, after he scored nine goals against Hércules de Alicante on 4th January 1949, in a Second Division game. Bazán, considered to be the best striker in CD Málaga, achieved an impeccable record, playing more than 300 matches (301) and scoring a total of 266 goals, a CD Málaga record.
In the dug out, Antonio Fernández Benítez took part in the highest number of matches as a coach (311), along with Málaga Club de Fútbol matches in the 90’s (69), he still works within the Club (380 matches in total; 158 In the First Division, 99 in the Second Division, 19 in the Second Division B, 40 in the Third Division, 44 in the Copa del Rey, 12 in League Cups, eight in promotions and promotion play-offs).
With regards to international players, Pedro Bazán was CD Málaga’s first name, who played in Spain’s B team in 1949. However the first player to be part of ‘la roja’, was midfielder Migueli in 1972. He achieved a number of records for Málaga football during his career: number of seasons (16), total number of matches (404), number of matches in First Division (271), number of minutes played in First Division (22,626). Other international players with CD Málaga were defender Macías, and goalkeeper Deusto, both in 1973. The latter was the only goalkeeper in the history of Málaga football to be awarded the Zamora Trophy, in 1971/72.
Due to the economic crisis, and their descent into the Second Division B in 1991/92, the name CD Málaga disappeared on 27th July 1992. Reserve team, Club Atlético Malagueño, continued in the Third Division.
More than half a century of football, filled with history, but also anecdotes and tragedy. In 1971, President Antonio Rodríguez López was killed in strange circumstances. Sixteen years later, in 1987, goalkeeper Gallardo died after several weeks in hospital, following a severe blow he’d received in a match between Celta and CD Málaga in the Balaídos stadium. However fortunately there were no fatalities in 1956/57, when the team was involved in a plane crash, travelling to Tenerife for a Second Division match. The plane crashed landed at Los Rodeos airport.
Some of CD Málaga’s most unforgettable moments in La Rosaleda, were when the crowd chanted the name of Argentinean player Viberti, who was a football idol in the 70’s; the victory against Real Madrid in 1981/82, when the team, coached by Antonio Fernández Benítez, defeated the visitors by 6-2 at La Rosaleda; the retirement of legendary Fuengirola-born Juan Gómez ‘Juanito’ in 1989, when bullfighter Curro Romero cut a symbolic tail, as is the bullfighting tradition; or the despair when the team was relegated to the Second Division in 1989/90, after they lost to Español de Barcelona on penalties.
Presidents of CD MÁLAGA: Luis Ramírez Rodríguez, José Soriano Alba, Francisco Espejo Nevot, Manuel Navarro Nogueroles, José Luis Estrada Segalerva, Agustín Moreno García, Mario Canivell Freites, Julio Parres López, Juan Moreno de Luna, Antonio Rodríguez López, Rafael Serrano Carvajal, José Ibáñez Narváez, Federico Brinkmann Gil, Antonio Pérez-Gascón Cobos, Eduardo Padilla Díaz, Francisco García Anaya, José Pardo Requena and José Toboso Plaza.
CD MÁLAGA coaches: Cristobal Martí, Manuel Olivares, Antonio Calderón, Paco Bru, Antonio Iznata 'Chales', Campanal, Luis Urquiri, Ricardo Zamora, Antonio Barrios, Gabriel Andonegui, Helenio Herrera, Pasarín, Ramón Colón, Manuel Echezarreta, Carlos Iturraspe, José Valera, Eduardo Rubio, Rogelio Santiago 'Lelé', Juan Ochoantesana, Sabino Barinaga, José Luis Riera, José María Zárraga, Domingo Balmanya, Luis Miró, Ernesto Pons, Otto Bumbel, Juan Ramón, Jenos Kalmar, Carmona Ros, Marcel Domingo, Milorad Pavic, José Luis Fuentes, Sebastián Viberti, Ben Barek, Antonio Benítez, Antonio D'accorso, Ladislao Kubala, Pepe Sánchez, Luis Costa, Waldo Ramos, José Luis Monreal and Antonio Montero 'Nene'.
CD MÁLAGA players: 1940’s (Tomasín, Junco, Mendaro, Arza, Emilio, Olivares, Teo, Bazán, Arnau), 1950’s (Becerril, Gutiérrez, Rodríguez, Galacho, Del Río, Bernardi, Borredá, Lorenzo, Pipi), 1960’s (Américo, Ben Barek, Portalés, Arias, Otiñano, Velázquez, Chuzo, Montero, Aragón, Berruezo, Martínez, Monreal, Migueli, Fleitas), 1970’s (Viberti, Deusto, Macías, Vilanova, Bustillo, Áraez, Guerini, Benítez, Búa, Santi Llorente), 1980’s ('Bokerón' Esteban, Salguero, Muñoz Pérez, Martín, Paquito, Rivas, José, Canillas, Juan Carlos, Fernando Peralta, Husillos, Juan Gómez 'Juanito'), 1990’s (Jaro, Matosas, Makanaki, Antonio Mata, Antonio Álvarez, Quino).
On 15th May 1933, the two most prominent clubs in the city, Malagueño FC and Málaga Sport Club, came to an agreement, and formed Club Deportivo Malacitano. The first Blue and Whites match was held on 22nd May 1933 against Deportivo Alavés on the Baños del Carmen. The friendly game ended in a clear victory (5-1).
A year later, in 1934, CD Malacitano was awarded a piece of land in Martiricos by the City Hall, for the creation of a new stadium, as the Baños del Carmen pitch was getting too small. La Rosaleda project was born, the current stadium of Málaga football.
CD Malacitano competed in the Second Division for the first time in the history of Málaga football, in 1934/35 and 1935/36, ending both seasons in fifth place. The Spanish civil war (1936-1939) impeded the development of football throughout the country, and the competition continued in 1939/40. CD Malacitano achieved their best performance in the Second Division, reaching third place, much the same as the Andalucían Championship in the same year.
CD Malacitano’s last season was in 1940/41. Due to the damage to the Baños del Carmen pitch from bad weather, CD Malacitano were the first to play an official match in the unfinished La Rosaleda stadium. It was on 13th April 1941, in the Generalísimo Cup, against Ferroviaria de Madrid.
Presidents of CD Malacitano: Francisco Fresneda, José Garrido Garrido, Vicente González Mira, José Atencia Molina, Mateo Castañer Gallardo, Sergio Gómez Larrea and Eugenio Sánchez Recio
CD Malacitano coaches: Arrillaga, Manzanedo, Valentín, Sorribas and Quirantes.
CD Malacitano players: Albarracín, Gamero, Meri, Vides, Chales, Patricio, Langarita, Liz, Pedrín, Valentín, Alonso, Corral, Salazar, Chacho and Fuentes.
On the 3rd April 1904, Málaga Football Club played their first match, against another new team, on an improvised pitch near Málaga city centre, in front of a crowd of 3,000. Their appearance in an official competition wasn’t until 1921, after they had enrolled in the Regional Football Federation. The team then played matches on a regular basis on the ‘Baños del Carmen’ beach.
Some of the directors of Málaga Football Club left in 1923, to launch a new football project in the city, and Malagueño FC was born. The new Club made their debut on a pitch situated in Calle Cristo de la Epidemia, against Barcelona’s Español. One of the most outstanding goalkeepers of all time took part in this match, and later was the first Málaga coach when the team was in the First Division, Ricardo Zamora.
Several years later, on 11th August 1927, and Fútbol de Málaga became ‘Real’, thanks to the presence of the Prince of Asturias and the princesses at several matches. Alfonso XIII accepted the honorary presidency of Málaga Football Club, which was then named Real Málaga, under the management of President Ignacio Lazarraga.
In 1929, the Club was part of an official national League competition, and the Third Division was created. Another two teams representing Málaga football were also in this Division: Real Málaga and Malagueño FC. However the economic crisis forced Real Málaga to leave the Baños del Carmen premises, and they moved to the Segalerva pitch, after a time at Cristo de la Epidemia.
Real Málaga’s crisis allowed Malagueño FC to use some of the Club’s best players to form a team based in the Baños del Carmen. In September 1930, Real Málaga merged with the local team at Segalerva, to become Málaga Sport Club.