Malaga’s search for a head coach is over. Juan Ramon Muniz signed a two-year contract on Wednesday morning to lead the Costa del Sol club in their pursuit of an immediate return to La Liga.
It’s third time lucky for Malaga after the move twice collapsed this summer. The first time, then sporting director Mario Husillos approached Muniz just after he got the sack from Levante in March and Malaga were still fighting relegation. However, Muniz distanced himself from the role having failed to recieve the guarantees he was seeking.
Then, after Husillos’ sacking, club owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani turned to Muniz again but rejected his demands for complete autonomy and the move was off again. After this, the club’s new sporting director José Luis Caminero started to shortlist new candidates, but when Muniz’s family made it clear that their heart was set on a return to the city, Muniz reconsidered and the move was back on again.
This is the Asturian’s third spell in charge of the team. Muñiz was first at the club as assistant to Juande Ramos in 2003, before taking up a role as head coach with neighbours Marbella. However, he returned to Malaga as coach in 2006 and earned promotion to La Liga for the Blue and Whites in the 2007/08 season.
Shortly after, he joined Racing Santander but was released at the end of the season and returned to Malaga for a short-lived second spell in late 2010 where he led them to safety but was not kept on after a last-gasp 17th-place finish just before Al-Thani’s arrival at the club heralded a new era and the appointment of Jesualdo Ferreira.
Muñiz then travelled to Ukraine to the reunited with Juande Ramos at Dnipro, where he acquired a detailed knowledge of the European market.
In 2015, he was appointed Alcarcón boss, earning a move to Levante the following season with whom he gained promotion back to La Liga in his first season. Their return didn’t go to plan, however, and Muñiz was relieved of his duties this May.
However, it is his experience of twice earning promotion back to the big time, as well as his close ties with the club, which attracted Malaga.
Even though fans were calling for his head at the end of his second spell in charge, his work in getting Malaga to La Liga in 2008 has not gone unnoticed. During a time in which he was also acting as sporting director, Muñiz restructured the squad completely and turned the side, which narrowly escaped relegation to the third tier the year before, into one that finished second, an automatic promotion spot.
Muñiz will be officially presented later today, Wednesday.