Mexican stopper and free agent Guillermo Ochoa took his time finding a new club in the summer of 2014, officially signing for Spanish side Malaga on Friday.
Ochoa became the hottest free agent on the market thanks to a sensational performance at the 2014 World Cup. After he spent the last few seasons playing for French minnows Ajaccio, it came as no surprise that he held out for a club of much bigger stature.
Malaga's official Twitter account announced the signing:
The Mexican goalkeeper signed a three-year deal after passing a medical on Friday and is widely expected to become the club's new starter after Willy Caballero's transfer to Manchester City at the start of the summer window.
Ochoa told reporters playing in Spain is "a dream" for him, via ESPN FC's Tom Marshall:
Ochoa: I'm happy to be in this club that opened the doors to the Spanish league, which is a dream for me. It's a great project.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) August 1, 2014
As shared by WhoScored.com, Ochoa has done much more in the past few seasons than just shine at the World Cup:
Malaga echoed that sentiment, via Marshall:
Malaga sporting president: Memo Ochoa is not here because of the World Cup. He's only missed 2 games in 3 years at Ajaccio.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) August 1, 2014
BeIN Sports USA's David Jaca was very impressed by Malaga's ability to replace their longtime starter for no transfer fee:
Excellent business from Málaga bringing in Memo Ochoa. Three-year deal and most importantly a very suitable Willy C replacement for €0.— David (@davidjaca) August 1, 2014
The Spanish club ran into financial difficulty in 2012 and were forced to sell top players like Isco, Joaquin and Jeremy Toulalan one year later, but they have since done an excellent job rebuilding the squad.
While they won't challenge the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona for the La Liga title, they will be expected to push for one of Spain's European slots in 2014-15.
Their biggest need entering the new season was finding a replacement for Caballero, and in Ochoa they managed to add a player with World Cup experience and the skill set to thrive at the highest level.
Ochoa will get the chance to show he truly is one of the elite players at the position in arguably the strongest league on the planet, so this transfer truly feels like a match made in heaven.