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Jun 12, 2013

Busy Malaga sign duo, Schuster next

Malaga have completed permanent deals for Portuguese defenders Vitorino Antunes and Flavio Nunes Ferreira, lined up Bernd Schuster as their new coach, said goodbye to sporting director Mario Husillos, while also lamenting the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) decision to uphold their European competition ban for next season.

Bernd Schuster won La Liga in 2008 with Real Madrid
Bernd Schuster looks set to succeed Manuel Pellegrini

A busy Tuesday on the Costa del Sol saw the club take up its option to sign left-back Antunes, 26, from Pacos de Ferreira and pay €500,000 to sign his countryman Ferreira, a 21 year-old centre-back from Academica de Coimbra.

It also saw Husillos surprisingly leave La Rosaleda, reportedly after the incoming Schuster was chosen by the club’s Qatari owners against his advice.

On Tuesday evening Los Boquerones director general Vicente Casado told El Larguero that the ruling by CAS - which found that UEFA could punish Malaga for previous debts to other clubs and the Spanish taxman, even though their finances were now in better order - was unfair. He also suggested that other clubs in similar situations had not been treated the same way.

“This is a political decision,” Casado said. “We feel like ‘turks’ heads’ [a Spanish phrase for being made an example of]. We are disappointed, because this is very hard news, and we feel thrown out of the competition, despite now being run well, and having very good results.”

Portugal international Antunes, who played 11 games in the second half of the 2012-13 season, after being signed on loan when Nacho Monreal left for Arsenal during the January transfer window, avoided any such controversial topics when he spoke to the club’s official site after making his move permanent.

“My experience so far at Malaga has been very good, unique for a player,” he said. “I have a lot of confidence for next season, there is a lot of expectation here.”

The club also released a short statement announcing the exit of Husillos, who up to that point had been heavily involved in the search for Manuel Pellegrini’s replacement and building a squad under the constraints of the Qatari owners’ new, tighter purse strings.

“Today ends this stage of Mario Husillos' time with Malaga Club de Futbol, after an agreement reached by both parties not to extend his contract which ends on June 30,” the statement read. “The Spanish-Argentine coach will not continue in the role in charge of sporting affairs.”

According to Spanish media reports, Husillos did not agree with the decision to approach ex-Getafe, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk and Besiktas coach Schuster, but was overruled by owners who wanted to appoint a high-profile figure to the La Rosaleda bench.

Husillos and Pellegrini will likely not be the only key figures from Malaga's recent successes to leave this summer, with high-earners including Isco, Martin Demichelis, Jeremy Toulalan and Joaquin among those expected to also move on.

Isco continues to be linked with Madrid and Manchester City, while Atletico Madrid are reportedly interested in Demichelis and Toulalan, and Fiorentina looks the most likely destination for Joaquin.

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