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The Saudi takeover of Spanish football (23rd January, 2018)

This blog is called the Pride of Vallekas. Well, I'm not proud. I've always been excited about writing, but never before have I had to delay a piece just so I could rewrite it after cooling down.

If you read yesterday's piece about the Chinese take-over of Spanish football, you'll be happy to know that this is a more recent phenomenon. But given the tentacles of Chinese influence, I would not be surprised if more is announced in the pipeline.

On the 21st of January, 2018, Saudi Arabia's federation and La Liga - yes, the league - agreed an operation that simply defies all bounds of thinking. Nine players were transferred from Saudi Arabian clubs to first and second division clubs and their B teams.

If you're stuggling with the scale of this, here are the players: In the first tier, Yahia Al-Shehri signed for Leganés and Marwan Othmnan for the B team, Fahad Al-Muwallad signed for Levante, Salem Al Dawsari for Villarreal and Jaber Issa signed for the B team. In th…
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The Chinese takeover of Spanish football (22nd January, 2018)

Given the recent signing of Abdulmajeed Al Sulayhim, I thought I'd write about the transfer. However, that comes tomorrow, entitled the Saudi takeover of Spanish football.

But there's one takeover that's already happening, and it's the Chinese one...

China already have their hands in Spanish football. They already own satellite clubs in Valencia such as CF Cracks and Atlético Museros and have already loaned out over 25 Chinese players to the former. Communication problems have plagued the club, which requires a translator to be present at all times, not to mention the players struggling with the Spanish football style.

In July 2016, La Hoya Lorca Club de Fútbol changed its name to Lorca Fútbol Club when it was bought by former Chinese international player and manager Xu Genbao. And just one month earlier, FC Jumilla was taken over by Chinese famous football commentators Li Xiang and Tang Hui together with Argentinian partner Rubén Iglesias. In fact, because Li, Tang and…

More Rayo Vallecano news. And a loan report. (21st January, 2018)

Given that I said I would cover more Rayo news on this blog...

Click here for transfer news as of 13th January, involving ex-Rayo player Armenteros, Mehdi Lacen, Youssef En-Nesyri, and more.

But wait - there is more!
Gorka Elustondo has signed for the club. A piece on him is already up.
Edit: Abdulmajeed Al Sulayhim has also signed - a piece on the deal will also be up in the coming days.
24-year-old Bruno Pittón, of Unión Santa Fe, is an Argentine left-back who has recently been linked to Rayo by the Argentine media. Seems unlikely, given that Raț is still in limbo at the club. Not to mention that Sergio Akieme hasn't got a look-in due to Álex Moreno. And don't forget that Javi Noblejas is out on loan at Córdoba.
Joni Montiel's playing time has been limited, and is looking for a way out. Loan deals involving Segunda B clubs are rumored, with Fuenlabrada and Ponferradina reportedly interested.

Rayo loan report

If Sergio Akieme can't get a look-in at Rayo, Javi Noblejas can&#…

New signing! Gorka Elustondo - the Swiss army knife (20th January, 2018)

Ugh. The "Swiss army knife" is quite a boring metaphor. Not because of the name but the reference.

Usefulness and adaptability are never inspiring, but they are necessary. When they're there it's calm. When they're not it's dire.

And that could not be truer in the case of Gorka Elustondo. A midfielder by trade, his natural position is protecting the defense with surprising physique and passing range. The Gipuzkoa native rose through the ranks of Real Sociedad's, and made his B-team, and Segunda B, debut at the age of 18 during the 2005-06 season. He immediately became an undisputed starter, and within a season was knocking on the doors of the first team. He would make his La Liga debut in December 2006 in a goalless away draw against Celta de Vigo. A further five appearances in his first professional season would follow, but nevertheless the Basque club met top division relegation for the first time in 40 years.

But sporting disappointment isn't the o…

Abel Gómez Moreno - the unforgettable face of forgettable clubs (19th January, 2018)

Yo-yo clubs are defined by their uncertainty. They go up and they go down. They remain relevant one season and are just as quick deemed irrelevant in the next.

In other words, yo-yo clubs are easily forgettable.


His face conveys the stern gaze of a man who had seen a lot - maybe too much. White streaks in his hair and his grey beard make the 35 year old look 53.


But his role as a footballer demands him to draw on every experience. Creaking legs are shielded from scrutiny once the ball lands on his feet. Always looking to control, pass, create. Always looking to win the ball intelligently. Always looking to score from dead ball situations.


He is Abel Gómez. And this is his story.


There is more to Andalusia than Seville. Abel was born in Seville but spent most of his life in Granada. As a child he started playing at Atlético Monachil, located in Monachil, Granada, and later at Granada 74. Seville's Sevilla did spot him, and he graduated from their academy, playing for their B team…

Jaime Mata - the one that got away (18th January, 2018)

A few months ago, Rayo fans woke up to this:
CONVOCATORIA| 📋 Lista de 1️⃣9️⃣ jugadores para el debut mañana en la #CopaDelRey🏆 #NumanciaMálaga⚽️ #VamosMálaga💙 👉 https://t.co/hlScwtJkhYpic.twitter.com/qFGrdvOnrQ — Málaga CF (@MalagaCF) October 23, 2017
That was a bittersweet moment - pride for a Rayista who was going to succeed at Málaga, but bitterness at the club for letting him go for free and not tying him down early enough.

Midfielder Pablo Clavería slipped through the cracks. He wasn't renewed, and got tired of waiting - a depressingly normal situation for a smaller, cash-strapped club.

This is the story of another player who slipped through.

Like Pablo, he has a powerful shot on him. Unlike Pablo, it's key to his job. The striker made his name in his hometown of Madrid in the Tercera, after rising through the ranks of Galáctico Pegaso. He would play for the reserves in 2007, before playing for the senior team during the 2008-09 campaign.

During the 2009-10 campaign, ec…

From Rayo to Rayo - Alejandro Arribas (17th January, 2017)

Exactly a week ago, the post for the day was "From Rayo to Rayo - the story of Alberto García". It was the story of a goalkeeper who started at Rayo (Rayo Majadahonda) and is now at Rayo (Rayo Vallecano). It was the story of two Madrid-based clubs named Rayo, who gave him a clear shot and helped him advance his career.

But this is a story of someone literally going from Rayo to Rayo. And, at the age of just 28, his story is only just being written.

Arribas' story is a mixture of opportunity and luck, achievement at an early age partly due to hard work and partly due to circumstance. It started in his hometown of Madrid, where he rose the ranks of Rayo Majadahonda, and where he made his Tercera debut during the 2007-08 campaign.

What followed was a rapid rise into professional football. In 2008, he was signed by Rayo's reserves, also in the Tercera. However, his talent earned him a loan move to Segunda B side Navalcarnero in the second half of the 2008-09 season and go…