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Malaga mourns the loss of former academy director Manel Casanova

Casanova’s colleagues and Malaga youth players came together for a minute’s silence.
Casanova’s colleagues and Malaga youth players came together for a minute’s silence. / Ñito Salas
  • Casanova, who oversaw the development of some of the club's brightest young stars in recent years, died unexpectedly on Sunday

Malaga CF held a minute’s silence on Monday after learning of the unexpected sudden death of Manel Casanova, former academy director, responsible for unearthing some of the club’s major young stars in recent years.

Casanova suffered a heart attack while watching the Malaga youth team play a friendly game against Malaka CF at the latter’s home ground in the western suburbs of the city on Sunday night. He was pronounced dead at the scene after failed attempts to resuscitate him. He was 66.

Recruited from Espanyol by Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani, Casanova oversaw youth development at the club as academy director. His ability for spotting talent was widely recognised in the game. In fact, he was responsible for recruiting Pablo Fornals, Javi Ontiveros and Sergi Darder, just to name a few, and nurturing their development to first-team level.

In recent times, however, illness forced him to take a back seat. Problems with his legs meant he was absent from the day-to-day running of the club for almost two years, but following his recovery he recently came back to work as technical secretary, a role he was carrying out until his death.