Santa Cruz: I'd love to face City in Champions League

Paraguayan striker is flourishing on loan with Malaga but holds no grudge against Mancini

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The Independent Football

Roque Santa Cruz is happy to turn his back on the Premier League. 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 £17.5m 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Within six months though, Hughes had been replaced by Roberto Mancini and after a succession of injuries, Santa Cruz found himself surplus to requirements.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 season, to another La Liga outfit, Malaga.

So far, Santa Cruz has made six appearances 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 said.

"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."

Meanwhile, Fulham defender Philippe Senderos has been impressed by the way his team-mates have started the campaign after a summer of upheaval.

Mousa Dembélé, Clint Dempsey, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Murphy were among the key players to depart Craven Cottage, leaving manager Martin Jol with a rebuilding job on his hands.However, the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Mladen Petric and Kieran Richardson have come in and helped Fulham make a better start than many had expected.

The west Londoners currently lie ninth in the Premier League and Senderos, who has been forced to watch from the sidelines through injury, has been impressed by his team-mates.

"It has been a pretty good start and we're really happy with it," he said. "Hopefully we can build on the good start and continue like this.

"We've lost a few players and replaced them really with players that are hungry and they want to do well.

"The team has responded really well in the first game and hopefully, for me personally, I can get my chance and grab it and be in the team.

"I am available for selection so hopefully I will start again very soon," Senderos said."It is nice to be back. I've been training and with the reserves I have played my second game."