Santa Cruz opts for Malaga

Striker excited by Champions League challenge

Roque Santa Cruz: Paraguayan excited by Champions League football

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Manchester City's Roque Santa Cruz says it was the prospect of playing UEFA Champions League football that prompted him to join Malaga.

The Paraguayan striker spent last season on loan at Real Betis, and admits he was seriously considering staying in Seville before having his head turned by the club on the Costa del Sol.

He will move to Spain after becoming surplus to requirements at Eastlands, falling behind Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguerro and Edin Dzeko.

Santa Cruz is poised to sign a deal with Malaga later on Friday, once he has completed a medical.

He told a Paraguay radio station: "I had in mind to return to Betis, that was always my idea because Betis has always treated me very well.

Chance

"But in the last weeks there was interest from Malaga. I would have the chance to play the Champions League there and that was the reason I accepted to be transferred to that team.

"I am sure that my family is going to feel very well at Malaga.

"This is the last year of my contract at Manchester, and in December I would be able to negotiate with other teams.

"But now there is a deal between both clubs, so I have travelled to Malaga for the medical tests, and then I will sign my contract."