UEFA Champions League: Why Is No One Paying Attention to Malaga?

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2012

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 06:  Malaga CF players applaud the fans at the end of the UEFA Champions League group C match between AC Milan and Malaga CF at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 6, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

You would think that a club that led their Champions League group by going undefeated in four matches with plenty of world-class talent would be getting loads of attention by everyone around Europe.

However, that is not the case with Spanish club Malaga.

After finishing in fourth in La Liga last season, the club ran into financial trouble and were forced to sell midfielder Santi Cazorla to Arsenal and Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen to Feyenoord as well as dealing with the retirement of Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Yet before the upcoming season, Malaga's manager Manuel Pellegrini did not buy a single player. Instead, he depended on free transfers like Javier Saviola and Manuel Iturra and players on loan such as Roque Santa Cruz and Oguchi Onyewu.

Along with the veterans who came in during the summer, Malaga have more veteran players like Martin Demichelis, Jeremy Toulalan and Julio Baptista.

Pellegrini has also instilled his faith in the promising 20-year-old Spaniard Isco, who has taken Europe by storm with his two-goal performance in the club's first Champions League match against Zenit St. Petersburg.

Malaga also feature the story of versatile Portuguese player Eliseu, who at 29 is having a career season with three goals in the Champions League, leading the club.

With Pellegrini putting all of the pieces to the puzzle into place, Los Boquerones have jumped into first place in Group C, a group that includes Italian giants AC Milan, Zenit St. Petersburg and Anderlecht.

While Malaga are not having a spectacular season domestically, they have become one of the biggest surprises in the Champions League.

After wins over Zenit and Anderlecht, Malaga cemented their place on top of the group two weeks ago as they outplayed AC Milan at home and 1-0.

On Tuesday, Malaga travelled to the San Siro and came out with a 1-1 draw. This gave them 10 points from four matches, which is five more than Milan in second place.

With qualification into the knockout stage imminent, Malaga need to turn their sights to the domestic scene, as they are in fifth place—just two points off of third place Real Madrid.

Pellegrini and company have a perfect chance to gain ground on Real Madrid as they play Real Sociedad and Osasuna in the next two weeks, as both clubs are in the bottom four in La Liga.

With a stronghold in the Champions League and a promising run of form domestically, Malaga will earn all the attention they need with the continuation of their strong and brilliant play.