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That's the idea of the board, become an alternative to Barcelona and Real Madrid in a future. I think they are doing it well, Málaga iis not only buying good players also build an own "Masía" and are bidding the best youngsters around Spain.
But still, they strike me as not having City-esque money. Plus they kept a rather low profile, when City started they just jumped on every single top 10 player in the world, so people would know they meant business.
Who were both excellent players for their teams. Barry's still a good player, too, although I've forgotten whether Toure is, too long since I've seen him play.
They also weakened a lot of Prem teams by taking their players off them: Adebayor, Toure (Nasri and Clichy now), Barry, Milner from Villa, Given from Newcastle...
Good point. Milner, Barry, Toure, Given and Adebayor were all at top of their games when they came to City. They overpaid for lots of players but made good team structure at the end.
I think two horse race is not bad for Spanish NT as long as Barca and Real have decent amount of Spanish talents because they can play in NT with ease together. Having good teams without local talent is not effective for national team. E.g., Inter won treble but Italy didn't benefit a single player from that team during World Cup.
However, most of Spanish teams have financial problems and are not able to close the gap with Real and Barca. This gap increases every year, they become stronger and others weaker. In EPL, most of the teams improve every year at a certain level. During last few years, mostly we had 4 big powers and two other goods teams around them. I think this EPL is much more exciting than 1997-2003 which was all about two teams.