When Brown Aide Ideye signed up for Spanish Primera Divicion side Malaga in January, he was taking up for two major challenges – bringing back his career that has hibernated for six months and helping the modest side avoid relegation.
Ideye had not played any competitive football match since July 2017 and with the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia less than six months away, only playing actively and in one of world’s famous leagues would put him back in contention with Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
For his team Malaga, they found themselves in a precarious position after winning just one of their opening ten La Liga matches this season, losing eight in the process. The league’s basement side have furthermore lost each of their last four matches by the odd margin, further cementing their favourites tag as a sure candidate for demotion to the Segunda Division.
Manager Jose Gonzalez made a number of late acquisitions in January including Nigerian duo Isaac Success and Ideye. While the former has only featured once as a substitute, the latter, on loan from Chinese side Tianjin TEDA has started in each of their last four games, scoring once in the demoralising 1-2 loss to Valencia.
Ideye has played full ninety minutes in those games and has never looked like one who just joined the club. The former Olympiakos striker told ACLSports.com this was made possible by the team’s manager Gonzalez .
“(My blending with the team) is because the coach wants me and the coach wanted me to play,” says Ideye to www.aclsports.com
“He called me personally on my phone to let me know that if I come to the team, I will start playing as soon as possible. So I did everything possible to keep fit and as soon as I signed, the next day, I started training and playing with the team.”
Since Ideye’s arrival at the club, he has struck some sort of partnership with Morrocan forward Yousef En-Nesyri, both players scoring the club’s only league goals in the last four games.
Television footage captured Ideye having a lengthy talk with En-Nesyri during the tunnel at half time of last weekend’s game at Athletic Bilbao. The striker who has previously played in Switzerland, France, Ukraine, England and Greece in his career believes football has a universal language.
“Football has just one language. It is difficult for me to understand most of the things players are saying but some of them speak English so it’s easier for me.
“The coach also has a translator too but it is easier to communicate with the players and the staff than I expected,” added the 29-year old.
Ideye and his Malaga teammates will face Sevilla at home in the 26th round of matches I the Spanish top flight on Wednesday night.