Diego Lugano: Good riddance to bad rubbish?

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

Nene and Diego Lugano are set to move on in JanuaryGettyImagesDiego Lugano exit from PSG suits both player and club

Since his arrival in the capital in 2011, Diego Lugano's time as a Paris Saint-Germain player has been difficult to say the least. That difficulty ended on Tuesday when the Uruguayan joined La Liga outfit Malaga on loan for the rest of the season. With his reputation now in tatters, having lost the captaincy of la Celeste and badly out of practice having not featured in a Ligue 1 game this season, the 32-year old has departed and is likely to not return.

- Lugano leaves PSG for Malaga

It is a decision that suits both parties and it is difficult to praise the 2011 Copa America winning Uruguay captain for anything during his time at PSG except perhaps a winning goal in the Coupe de France against minnows Locmine that spared an embarrassing replay.

The former Fenerbahce man made no secret of his unhappiness in France from early in his Ligue 1 career, and his departure is likely a breath of fresh air in the dressing room, which has struggled under the weight of a number of bruised egos in the last few months.

A deal was struck to rescue Lugano from his PSG nightmare when fellow Qatari-backed outfit Malaga agreed to share his wages for the remainder of the season. The Spaniards' generosity a boost for Carlo Ancelotti's side who have been trying, and failing, for some time to get rid of the troublesome defender, who at one point intimated that he'd happily see out the duration of his lucrative contract without any first team action.

Why then has Lugano fallen from grace so badly at PSG?

The Uruguayan has only made 12 starting appearances since arriving in the capital, despite being brought in as a first choice defender and starting despite some initial fitness struggles. He was quickly usurped in the team by Milan Bisevac, Zoumana Camara and eventually Alex. Lugano fell so far that he was even training with the reserves at one point.

Arguably overrated from his time with Fenerbahce, Lugano never fit in at PSG and his apparent attitude made a difficult situation worse with his willingness to brood quietly with the odd rant in the media about his dissatisfaction with his situation. However, it was simply his failure to accept the challenge laid down to him by coach Ancelotti and his predecessor Antoine Kombouare.

Much was expected of Lugano in terms of grooming young Mamadou Sakho into future captain material but the French international has now found a better source of inspiration in Brazilian skipper Thiago Silva, as well as compatriot Alex. The move to Malaga will likely reinvigorate a stagnant career for Lugano, but in terms of his future leadership of Uruguay, it would appear that his sojourn in France could have proven extremely costly.

ESPN Conversations