Two-time Uruguay international Michael Santos left his Uruguayan comfort last summer and found a challenge in the highly competitive La Liga. His first months in Spain haven’t gone too smoothly, though.

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After impressing for River Plate Montevideo both domestically and on the international stage (Copa Libertadores), Michael Santos earned a move to the old continent. Málaga signed him up for an initial fee of €4m. Ever since his arrival, Santos showed glimpses of his ability but hasn’t been able to really kick on.

Something that has really hurt Santos in his pursuit of success is the lack of continuity that he’s been given by his managers. Certainly Juande Ramos – who was sacked at the end of last year – has not allowed the Uruguayan striker a fair chance. The 23-year-old had to settle for some cameo appearances.

Still, Santos took every opportunity possible and tried to work his way into the team. Scoring the winning goal as a substitute vs. Sporting Gijon and grabbing a match-winning brace on his first start for the club quickly made him a popular figure within the fan base. Ramos, however, still preferred other players and acted accordingly by not giving Santos the chance he deserved after his good performances.

When fellow countryman Marcelo Gato Romero took over from Ramos due to poor results of the latter, more playing time was to be expected for Santos. And although the forward did get the opportunity to play more regularly, he was mostly played out of position on the right wing. Santos could not make the impact he wanted and neither could Romero winning just one out of his first ten games in charge. The inevitable then happened; Romero was sacked.

Almost instantly after sacking Romero, Málaga announced their new manager; Michel. For Santos, and the rest of the squad, it means a new beginning so new chances. Santos at 23 years of age still has all to play for and will be targeting a return to the national team with the World Cup in Russia just 15 months away.

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In order for that to happen, he needs to become a starter at La Rosaleda. Santos possesses a real eye for the goal and despite being 5ft9 is a good header of the ball. Next to his poachers’ talents, Santos is also willing to go in behind and utilize his pace. If he can exploit those qualities, I have no doubt Santos will become a hit for Málaga.

Written by David Kraakman