La Liga: The south of Spain set to rise again?
The Andalusia trio have endured mixed fortunes in recent times
Recent times have seen serious power shifts in Spanish Football. Whether it be down to lack of funds or the knack to pick out a superb talent at a young age.
The three Andalucía giants as it were are Malaga CF, Real Betis and Sevilla, and they have all enjoyed varying levels of success in recent years.
Sevilla were, without doubt, the best club in Andalucia as far back as three years ago, posing a serious threat to the top clubs and hardly ever finishing outside the European places. With the likes of Dani Alves and co they were definitely the team to beat from the south.
However recent times and ownership changes have meant Sevilla’s top players have had to be auctioned off for bargain prices to avoid the deadly grasp of administration and bankruptcy.
In these perilous times local rivals Malaga have flourished under Quatari ownership, bringing in the talent in the form of Joaquin from Valencia CF, Welington and Santi Cazorla from Villarreal. The €100m invested soon paid off with Malaga enjoying their best ever season in its history by landing in the Champions League.
The following season, our current season they boasted the quickest qualification time in Europe topping their group and earning themselves a place in the last 16. They then overturned a 1-0 away leg deficit to beat Porto 2-1 in a dramatic and thrilling tie.
They did encounter some difficulties along the way however having had its owner demand his money back no sooner than he had spent it on quality players.
This meant Santi Cazorla was sold to Arsenal and Nacho Monreal as well in the same direction in the summer and winter transfer window. In spite of these losses in personal, Malaga still managed their Champions League success.
Despite their success, a ban due to their inability to pay wages will mean they won’t be returning to the Champions League next season.
This exhibition of leadership from one very special coach Manuel Pelligrini, who previously transformed Villarreal from a small village club into a top flight contender with Champions League ambition, has shown in times of utter peril. This is why Malaga have prevailed through rough times both on the pitch and off.
Betis used to be one of those small clubs on the edge of success, never quite getting their, flirting with relegation and sitting comfortably in mid table, not going anywhere.
They were happy to let Sevilla be number one. Then the introduction of manager Pepe Mel revitalized a decent team into a Champions League contender.
The Mel era had begun, the clever nifty techniques to better the club without busting any banks was to scout out players that had potential but were having trouble showing that potential at their respective clubs, for example Joel Campbell who could not get a work permit in England with Arsenal was happily loaned out without charge.
The same situation applies to Dorlan Pabon except In this case his Italian club Parma were shifting him on saying he didn't make the cut - another brilliant loan deal. These cost effective loans have meant a quality side can easily be built from absolutely nothing.
Another factor that has to be considered is certainly Ruben Castro’s tremendous form, having scored 15 La Liga goals this season. Castro has given Betis that cutting edge they have lacked for so long and could drive them back in to Europe’s elite.
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