What happened to the nine players Malaga spent big on back in 2011?

Santi Cazorla & Isco

Between 2011 and 2013, Malaga were one of the most interesting footballing projects in the world.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani took over in June 2010 and a year later, he was ready to spend big.

Manuel Pellegrini was in charge and was handed a serious war-chest to try and turn Malaga into one of Spain's powerhouses.

That season, they finished fourth in La Liga and qualified for the Champions League, before experiencing a rapid decline.

They're now in Spain's second-tier, but what happened to the nine players they splashed €57m on in the summer of 2011?

ISCO (REAL MADRID)

Arrived from Valencia and went on to become the young superstar of Spanish football at Malaga. Earned a big-money move to Los Blancos in 2013 where he continues to shine.

SANTI CAZORLA (VILLARREAL)

In just one season after arriving from Villarreal, Cazorla did enough to earn a move to Arsenal where he is still adored by the fans. He's now back at Villarreal after recovering from injury.

Cazorla during his days with Malaga

NACHO MONREAL (ARSENAL)

Arsene Wenger was clearly a fan of the Malaga project, plucking another one of their new signings back in January 2013. The 32-year-old is still Arsenal's first-choice left-back.

JOAQUIN (REAL BETIS)

The Spanish winger arrived from Valencia and like most of the players and manager, he left back in 2013. A failed two-year spell at Fiorentina was followed by a successful three-year stint with Betis.

Joaquin celebrates a goal vs Borussia Dortmund

JEREMY TOULALAN (FREE AGENT)

Was the backbone of Pellegrini's team for two years after arriving from Lyon. Toulalan then jumped ship to Monaco in 2013, before signing for Bordeaux where he left on rather sour terms in 2018.

SERGIO SANCHEZ (CADIZ)

The Spaniard enjoyed four seasons at Malaga after arriving from Sevilla. Had spells at Rubin Kazan and Espanyol before joining second-tier side Cadiz in 2018.

Sanchez in action for Malaga

JORIS MATHIJSEN (RETIRED)

The Dutch defender arrived from Hamburg and spent just one season in Spain. He moved to Feyenoord in 2012 before announcing his retirement in 2015.

RUUD VAN NISTELROOY (RETIRED)

Malaga was the Dutch legend's final destination after Hamburg, before announcing his retirement in 2012, scoring just four goals in 28 appearances - he was kept out of the team by Salomon Rondon.

Van Nistelrooy in action vs Real Madrid

MARTIN DEMICHELIS (RETIRED)

Like Pellegrini, the Argentine centre-back decided to swap the sunny shores of Spain for Manchester City in 2013. He did return to Malaga in 2017 before announcing his retirement.

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