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Eleven new recruits for new-look Malaga, ready for top-flight return

Miriam, signed from FC Barcelona, is an experienced player at this level.
Miriam, signed from FC Barcelona, is an experienced player at this level. / fcbarcelona.es
  • Antonio Contreras will have 24 players at his disposal, five of whom are from the area, when the season gets under way on the weekend of 8 September

Mayara Bordin, a 31-year-old Brazilian central midfielder who joined from Zaragoza CFF last Sunday, was the eleventh and final signing of what has been a busy summer for Malaga Femenino as they prepare for life back in the top flight after a seven-year absence.

Under the stewardship of Antonio Contreras, Malaga have worked at breakneck speed in the transfer market to put together a squad capable of making a good account of themselves in the first division. So much so that the majority of the signings that have been announced in these last two weeks were agreed some time ago as the club found it relatively easy to sell the new project - one that is evidently on the up and based in an attractive city.

Contreras has endeavoured to maintain a local flavour in the squad, with almost all of the local players offered new deals: defenders Farfán and Postigo (from Cártama); Ruth and Encarni (Villanueva del Rosario); Torrox holding midfielder Sandra; and Almáchar attacker María Ruiz.

The coach has reinforced the existing group predominantly with players who have experience competing in the first division.

Miriam Diéguez, 32, is the most experienced recruit, arriving from Barcelona having won four league titles between 2006 and 2013, with 30 full caps under her belt. She could form a central partnership with fellow newcomer Marta Cazalla who joined from Atlético Madrid. She represents Spain at under-20 level and already has three years of top-flight experience.

Another eye-catching signing has been Celia, who scored 77 goals for CD Femarguín, one of Malaga's rivals for promotion last season. She will compete for a place up top with Miriam, backed up in the number 10 role by recent arrivals Natalia (who joined from Icelandic team Thor Akureyi) and Dominika (signed from Espanyol).

Other signings include goalkeeper Stefany, expected to play back-up to Chelsea; right-back Minori (from Zaragoza); left-back Leticia (Madrid CFF); and wingers Armisa (also signed from Zaragoza) and Patricia (also Madrid CFF).

In fact, with the new recruits, you could field an entirely new line-up with relatively decent balance: Stefany; Minori, Miriam, Marta, Leticia; Dominika, Natalia, Mayara; Patricia, Celia and Armisa. In total now, nine different nationalities are represented in the squad. Alongside the Spanish there are two Brits (Chelsea and Shiv), a Colombian (Stefany), Japanese (Minori), Brazilian (Mayara), Slovenian (Diminika), Mexican (Natalia), Uruguayan (Pamela) and Montenegrin (Armisa).

This squad of 24 will play 30 games this coming season, starting on either 8 or 9 September against the reigning champions Atlético Madrid.