Hierro: Rich Malaga keen to develop own talent

Newly-rich Malaga will not try to buy their way to success but rather place a heavy emphasis on developing their own talent, general manager Fernando Hierro told Reuters.

Hierro said he wanted Malaga to be regarded as a "simpatico" (nice/likeable) club, not a word that was always associated with the former defender during his Real Madrid and Spain days, at least by the forwards who faced him.

"If I had to put a slogan on our project, it would be 'sensible'," he said in an interview at FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the 2014 World Cup taskforce, of which he is a member.

"We are not going to go crazy and create a lot of big expectations."

The Costa del Sol club have spent most of their existence moving between the first and second divisions and have never won a major trophy. But they have been transformed since Qatari Sheikh Abdullah al Thani bought the club last year.

After a shaky first season, in which they flirted with relegation before finishing 11th, Malaga raised eyebrows with a flurry of activity in the summer transfer window.

They landed Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, French midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, Brazilian Julio Baptista and Spaniard Santi Cazorla.

Under former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini they hope to challenge for a place in European competition next season. The club have been praised for spending wisely and are a creditable sixth in La Liga.

"I can tell you sincerely, we have a lot of confidence in the new owners. Our president has shown exemplary behaviour and there is great hope at the club, and in the city," said Hierro.

"That gives us a base to start a great project. We have a coach who has a four-year contract so that he can keep on building.

"We have new financial circumstances and we have new targets but we understand things need their own time to happen. We don't want a radical change."

Hierro joined Malaga this season after leaving the Spanish federation. The 43-year-old, who was born in Malaga, said his role is to help integrate the owners into Spanish football and Malaga would not fall into the trap of buying foreign players while ignoring local talent.

"Always, always, our project is based on young players, on people from our youth academy," he said.

"We have the dream of building a fantastic academy with 10 pitches and a new sports complex. Our club is a partner of young people - historically Malaga has produced very good players from the academy."

Challenging Real Madrid and Barcelona was not a realistic aim, at least in the near future, he added. "That is not our target.

"I think we have to be grateful for what [Liga leaders] Levante have done, however we understand that the big financial difference between Real Madrid and Barcelona and the rest of us makes it really difficult."