Qatari Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nassar Al-Thani attended Malaga’s 1-0 win at home over AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday -- his first game of the year -- and declared that he would once again invest money in the club, which he had seemingly abandoned over the summer.
"We are going to invest: there is a future," Al-Thani said after the match. "I congratulate the players, the coach and, above all, the fans for their support."
Indeed, the early success of Malaga in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League is one of the biggest surprises of the European season so far -- mostly because of the uncertainty that has surrounded the club off-the-field. A lack of further investment from Al-Thani since buying the club in 2010 led to mounting debts that forced the sale of star players like Santi Cazorla over the summer, and left a cloud of uncertainty over Malaga’s very future.
"It was important that [Al-Thani] was here today,” Coach Manuel Pellegrini said. "He was in the locker room and congratulated everyone.” The Chilean was then quick to change the subject, saying that even though Malaga has collected maximum points thus far, it will not take qualification for granted. Malaga is top of Group C with nine points, five ahead of second-place Milan and six ahead of third-place Zenit St Petersburg. The Andalusian club is currently third in La Liga.