After successful stints at Bayern Munich and Blackburn, the Paraguay forward was tipped to make a big impression at Manchester City when Mark Hughes snapped him up for £17.5million in 2009. Within six months though, Hughes had been replaced by Roberto Mancini and after a succession of injuries, Santa Cruz found himself surplus to requirements. After loan spells back at Blackburn and with Real Betis, the 31-year-old was farmed out again this term, to another La Liga outfit, Malaga.
So far, Santa Cruz has made six appearance for the high-flying Andalucian club, all but one as a substitute. He is enjoying the experience though. Enough to know that when his City contract expires at the end of the season, he will not be heading back to England. "I do not see myself going back to the Premier League because my family are very settled here and I do not want to keep bringing my children back and forth [between England and Spain]," Santa Cruz told BBC World Service. "I want something stable for my family for the next few years.
I would consider moving back to South America - something else I would love to do in the future."
Santa Cruz has had a role in Malaga's superb start to their maiden Champions League campaign. There is even a chance he could play against his parent club later in the competition, although clearly City would need to improve after picking up just a single point from their first two games. Santa Cruz would welcome a meeting though, if only to have a chat with Mancini, a man he still respects despite the Italian's decision to dump him. "We have an honest relationship with great respect," said Santa Cruz. "He knows he will get the truth from me if he asks anything and I believe I can go to him too."