Malaga Faces Huge Game To Qualify For The Champions League And Receive $10.7M
Wednesday's UEFA Champions League qualifying game between Spanish side Malaga and Greek club Panathinaikos "is much more than a passport to the elite competition in European football" for the Andalusians, according to A. Ciriza of EL PAIS. The "financially asphyxiated" club is playing for €8,6M ($10.7M) "that would serve to relieve their coffers" and help pay the money they owe to players and employees. The times are very different from two years ago when Sheikh Al Thani bought the club and spent €60M to bring in star players. The "scene is radically different." Al Thani is "rarely seen in the city," has put the club up for sale, and sold the team's best players for financial purposes. Malaga Coach Manuel Pellegrini said, "When we qualified, we all hoped to be here differently, but we are this way and we have to face it. Reality exists, but we do not want to look for excuses. We do not have star players, but it is not an excuse" (EL PAIS, 8/21).