Juande Ramos’ departure from Malaga just before Christmas caused a fair amount of confusion amongst their fans and those of La Liga. The Andalusians’ President, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, took to his Twitter account to thank the 62-year-old for his work before the club had officially announced that their former Coach had left by mutual consent, in a manner befitting of Spanish football’s unorthodox ways.
The ex-Sevilla and Real Madrid trainer’s exit did come a little bit out of the blue, but in the modern game’s hypersensitive nature, it was not exactly surprising. Malaga’s season so far has been quite average as they currently lie 11th in La Liga.
A 0-0 draw at Barcelona was one of Ramos’ main achievements, but the real issues came in the month of December, when Los Boquerones only picked up two points. Worse, though, was the humiliating exit from the Copa del Rey at the hands of second-tier Cordoba. Shock victories like these rarely occur when ties are played over two legs, and the fans on the Costa del Sol were not particularly pleased.
“Football is susceptible to change, and in adverse situations, us Coaches are often the ones who are wronged," Ramos said upon leaving Malaga. “In this specific case, I have decided to remove myself from a situation that was uncomfortable and unsatisfying.”
Based on these words, it seems as though the tension emanating from the board and the fans became too much for Ramos, and he has been replaced by his assistant Marcelo ‘Gato’ Romero.
Romero plyed his trade at La Rosaleda for six years as an aggressive, combative defensive midfielder, and he has been an assistant Coach at the club since Javi Gracia took over in 2014. His new position is his first job coaching a professional side, but he, along with Al Thani, feels ready to make the step up after learning from Gracia and Ramos.
“Those who have seen me play know what I was like on the pitch,” the 40-year-old stated at his unveiling. “I will convey to the players what I want from them as a Coach, footballer on the field of play and [in terms of] what the fans want to see. People want to see their team compete. Therefore, I want to see a solid team, convinced they will go out and win.”
The appointment of the Uruguayan draws parallels with that of Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid. In Romero, Malaga have a man who knows the club having spent a number of years with them as a player and Coach. On top of that, the South Americans had fairly similar playing styles, which suggests that they could have a similar way of coaching their teams too judging by Romero’s words.
This does not mean that Romero is going to enjoy the success that Simeone has had at Atleti, but Malaga fans wouldn’t mind a side in a mould alike to the Madrid club – a team that will hound their opponents all game and leaving everything on the pitch, things that seemed to be lacking under the new man’s predecessor.
Image courtesy @MalagaCF via Twitter