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  Sunday, 11 August, 2002, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Africans leave La Liga
Geremi Njitap
Geremi never settled into the Real Madrid side

The Spanish League is arguably the best in Europe.

Teams from Spain have in recent years dominated the Champions League, and the line-up of the world's top players is second-to-none.

But African involvement is diminishing and there are fewer players this season than there have been for years.

Real Madrid's Geremi Njitap picked up a European Cup winner's medal last season, although he did not feature in the final, but he has now moved to English Premiership side Middlesbrough.

There is no Pierre Wome this year - he has also gone to England, to Fulham - and there is no Harouna Babangida at Barcelona.

The Nigerian left after being told he had no future at the club and is looking for a new employer.

Of those that do remain, some against their wishes, Morocco's Noureddine Naybet has the best chance of success with Deportivo La Coruna.

Cyril Domoraud in action for Marseille
Domoraud will be looking to recapture his best form
Exciting young Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o Fils meanwhile faces a less secure season with Real Mallorca, who only just avoided relegation last season.

And even he nearly departed Spain for England this summer - he was a target of Tottenham Hotspur, but the fact that for this season half of any transfer fee Mallorca receive must be paid to Real Madrid scuppered the deal.

Mallorca have a tough opening game in La Liga against champions Valencia.

South Africa's Benni McCarthy, back from being on loan in Portugal and having missed out on yet another move to England, also faces an uncertain future with Celta Vigo.

But Tunisia's Mehdi Nafti gets a shot at the big time after Racing Santander were promoted back up to the first division after spending a year in the second.

And Ivory Coast defender Cyril Domoraud, who has just completed a one-year loan move from AC Milan to Espanyol, now has the chance to finally establish himself permanently in a side rather than constantly remaining a bit-part.


New seasons kick off
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