Within the past decade, La Liga has evolved (or devolved, depending on who you’re talking to) into a two-horse race between Real Madrid and Barcelona. Between TV contracts, exposure and merchandise, the Spanish league is divided into distinct categories: the haves (two teams) and the have-nots (18 clubs).
Qatari oil baron Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani purchased Malaga in 2010 hoping to restore some balance to the league. Looking to follow the model of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, Al-Thani wanted to build a competitive team that would compete in the UEFA Champions League and feature star players. Santi Cazorla, Julio Baptista, and Joaquin were three of the biggest acquisitions the club made last summer. Most importantly, the presence of Malaga served as a fierce opponent to Real Madrid and Barcelona.