2001-2006: FIRST PARTICIPATION IN EUROPE
Following another memorable season (2000/01), with a record League ranking (8th place), and putting their mark on the elite, Serafín Roldán, the entity’s majority shareholder became president, following Fernando Puche’s resignation at the end of the competition.
In summer 2002, after another brilliant season in the First Division, ending in 10th place, Málaga CF enrolled in the now defunct Intertoto Cup, which gave champions of the competition a direct pass to the UEFA Cup. After eliminating Gent, Willem II and Villarreal CF over two legs, Joaquín Peiró’s team achieved the first international title in Málaga and Andalucían football, on 27th August 2002.
Málaga CF debuted in the UEFA Cup on 10th September 2002 away to Zelejnicar (Bosnia). The Blue and Whites mapped out the dream and made some memorable performances in the later qualifiers, against Amica Wronki (Poland), Leeds United (England) and AEK Athens (Greece), until they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Boavista (Portugal) in a fateful penalty shoot-out.
After five years with Peiró, in the 2003/04 season, Juande Ramos arrived to head up the first team. That season, Málaga CF became the only Club in Europe with a team in the First Division and another in the Second Division, with Málaga B competing in the ‘silver’ category, coached by Antonio Tapia.
However, after seven consecutive seasons in the First Division, a record for Málaga football up to that point, the team was relegated to the Second Division in the 2005/06 campaign.