The Manchester City striker still in with a chance of Champions League glory

Manchester United may have been knocked out of the Champions League this week; and unlike them their rivals City can crow they still have a player in the competition.

Manchester City's European adventure ended as early as last year, when they finished bottom of their group without a win.

But for one man on their payroll, the dream continues, but for how much longer the jury remains out.

The player concerned is striker Roque Santa Cruz, who has a chance to fire Malaga into the quarter finals next week.

Malaga are 1-0 down in their tie against Porto but have the home leg to come, and despite not bagging an away goal at the Dragao, they will fancy their chances of turning it around.

With returning Brazilian Julio Baptista breaking down with injury again, Santa Cruz should have a prominent part to play for Malaga, having also featured in the first leg.

Overall it has been a successful loan spell for the Paraguayan, whose spent time at Real Betis last season scoring eight times in 39 games.

This season he has already matched that eight goal tally, and is hoping to add to it going into the final months of the season. 

With Malaga still in with a shot in the Champions League, and sitting in fourth in La Liga; closely followed by a batch of teams, it is all to play for.

The disappointing point for Santa Cruz is that despite featuring in all seven of Malaga's Champions League games, he is yet to net in the competition. He will certainly hope he is saving himself for an important strike next week.

Don't expect to see him back wearing a City shirt though; the last time he did was in a friendly last summer; as his contract expires in June.

Signed for £17.5 million in 2009 he is one player the club certainly didn't get their money's worth out of, scoring just four goals for City.

It appears his final gift is this slight 'straw-clutching' bragging right that City still have a player in the Champions League while rivals United do not.

At 31 he really is playing for his future, as he will be a free agent in the summer. A couple of goals to turn the tie around next week will do his prospects the world of good. 

image: © warrenski

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch