Just as it was threatening to become a saga, Alberto Bueno is now a Malaga player. The forward joins until the end of the season on a loan deal from FC Porto after having his loan spell with La Liga rivals Leganés cut short.
The deal had been in place since Friday, SUR understands, and the player passed a medical and even trained with the first-team, all while awaiting the thumbs up from club owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani.
The player, who will celebrate his thirtieth birthday in March, is Malaga's third winter signing, after Spanish defender Ignasi Miquel joined from Lugo and Argentinian defensive midfielder Manuel Iturra made his return to the club after a spell in Mexico. It is likely that Bueno will play a crucial role up front, as Malaga revert to head coach Míchel's preferred 4-1-4-1 formation which saw them achieve 11th place last season
A versatile player, Bueno is happy to play in most attacking positions, but he excels as either a central attacking midfielder or as a second striker. What he lacks in size and raw physical power he makes up for in technical ability and precision, having proven his attacking potential while playing alongside Juan Mata in Real Madrid's youth squad. In fact, he was part of the U-19 national side that were European champions in 2006, and was joint-top goalscorer in the tournament with five goals.
A true veteran of La Liga, Bueno has lent his talents to five Spanish sides (Real Madrid, Valladolid, Rayo Vallecano, Granada, and Leganés), has played in 153 games in the first division, and has scored 36 goals. However, Bueno only played four games for FC Porto after moving there in the 2015/16 season, and has since been on loan to both Granada and Leganés. He found chances hard to come by in the Porto first team, due to both the existing squad and a marked dip in form.
Despite Bueno's more recent decline, Malaga hope the arrival of the striker will help them offset their goal difference of -19.
Bueno will wear the number 19 shirt, left vacated by Emanuel Cecchini.