Emotions have been running high around Malaga CF this week as Martín Demichelis and Weligton, two pillars of the club’s success of the past decade, decided to call it a day.
Since Míchel’s arrival in March, there has been a distinct feeling of a changing of the guard with the club’s more experienced pros taking a back seat and watching while their younger counterparts have led Malaga to a phenomenal end to the season.
The first to announce his decision was Martín Demichelis, who called a press conference on Monday to announce his decision. Having only rejoined the club in this year’s January transfer window, it came as a surprise to some that he has chosen now to call time on his 17-year professional career.
“I have to be honest with myself. My legs have gone and I have lost my powers of concentration,” the 36-year-old stated.
The Argentinian, who joined Malaga from Bayern Munich, followed boss Manuel Pelligrini to Manchester City where he won a league title during his three-year spell.
“I learned a lot during my time there,” he said but admitted that after a difficult final campaign, he thought about quitting the game then.
However, a move to Espanyol beckoned and after limited playing time, the possibility for a return to Malaga was one he couldn’t refuse: “This is one of the clubs I dreamed I would finish my career at,” he said, thanking the club, and especially sporting director Francesc Arnau, for granting him the opportunity to do so.
Demichelis was also present at La Rosaleda on Wednesday to attend the press conference held for his defensive partner during his first spell at the club, Weligton.
The Brazilian veteran said his own goodbye, after ten years of loyal service to Malaga CF.
“It has been ten years of immense happiness,” he said through tears. The 37-year-old spoke of the obstacles he has had to overcome, especially in recent times with his fitness issues.
Weligton started this season in the first team squad but has been hampered by injury and eventually gave up his registration in January to accommodate the non-EU signing of Adalberto Peñaranda. In a strange twist of fate, Martín Demichelis was signed as his replacement.
Barely able to hold back his emotions, Weligton also expressed pride in what he had achieved during his career: “I never imagined I would be able to become a professional footballer nor come as far as I have. I never played for my national team but I’ve played against some fantastic players and have been able to share a dressing room with some fantastic pros, like Martín Demichelis. I am really thankful to all of the clubs I’ve represented.”
In the presence of his family, teammates and directors, he concluded: “I have grown a lot during my time here, and so has the club. I hope you all will continue taking the club forward. Our paths with cross again. I will come back... Malaga is my home.”