Now we really are in Europe.

“Well then Carlos, I am sure the boss must be happy with that?”

“Oh yes, of course, he is well pleased. But let’s not forget we were level on points with Benfica at the top with just 4 games to go, before we lost to them.”

“Jesus, Carlos, hard man to please aren’t you? We’ve finished 3rd in the league, I don’t think anyone could have asked for more this season!”

“That’s true but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big! I am sure the Boss never imagined his product would be all over the world, and he would own football clubs & casinos. But here we are.”

“Maybe get some of that product into the locker rooms at Benfica & Porto – that could help us out next season.”

“Ha. Jokes aside, I have a couple of important updates for you Alvaro. Firstly, you will unfortunately not have too much money to spend this summer. You’ll primarily have to rely on free transfers & bargains again, but of course do ensure whatever money is there, makes it’s way back to Colombia.”

“I didn’t realize funds were an issue for us.”

“It’s not that – as you know there are significant funds going into the improvements to the training & youth facilities. Besides that, we have decided to expand the stadium. With attendances up last year and qualifying for Europe, this is the right time to do it, and take the next step. As you can imagine, the stadium expansion will require a fair bit of funding too – and between all of this we will easily meet our “funding” objectives for the summer.”

“That sounds great to me!”

“Keep it up Alvaro. Oh and before I go, start sending some scouts out to Ecuador & Peru too. The Boss is diversifying operations as there’s too many eyes on us back home – we are possibly looking at Mexico as well but no news on that front yet. Good luck for the summer – next season let’s have a proper go at the Cups as well. The sooner we can win some silverware, the better.”

“No pressure, then.”

“None whatsoever! Oh and congratulations on winning the Manager of the Season award – well deserved.”

“Thank you. I thought you’d never mention it. I’ve also completed my National badges – onto the Continental ones now! It’s going to be a busy summer indeed.”

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That wraps up an eventful and solid first season at Maritimo for Alvaro and “the cartel”.

The league form was strong in the 2nd half of the season, but ultimately an unlikely title challenge fell apart at the end.

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However a top 3 finish and with that Champions League qualification was eventually clinched.

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The squad stats from a memorable season.

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Shout-out to Jorge Correa, easily our player of the season. Of the new signings, Brayan Gil has done well and finished 2nd top scorer. Jeisson Palacios joined us in Jan but has been a rock at the back and a massive threat from set pieces. Also we recently promoted academy graduate Celio Noite to the first team, and he is someone I have high hopes for.

Will sign off with the updated Club culture and 5 year plan – so far so good and hopefully we can stay on the “right” path.

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