Skip to main content

On Raúl Baena (28th February, 2017)

Yes, Getafe just won 1-0 against Rayo, but because Raúl Baena was injured (soleus rupture in the right leg, 4-6 weeks out), I thought it was worth talking about a player who is unsung but hugely important nevertheless.

If Espanyol fans came up a with a list of players who have one-uped Barcelona, Raúl Baena would be high on that list. Born in Málaga and raised at the club with the same name, he was signed by Barcelona at the age of 14, and went on to progress through the youth ranks. However, at the age of 18, he was picked up by Espanyol, which led to a legal battle as Barcelona sued Baena for 3.5 million euros.

And yes, that meant it was Laporta vs Baena, which meant Felipe Izquierdo, Baena's lawyer, could accuse Laporta of "knowing nothing of the matter" and that his presence in Barcelona was only "to make protocolic travels". And Laporta could look at Baena and sarcastically say, "good luck, lad". Also, its interesting to point out that this was in October of 2008,  when Barcelona were starting to look really good under newly-appointed Pep Guardiola.

Moreover, in that fateful game against Rayo in 2013 when Barcelona had less possession for the first time in years (the game that converted me to a Rayo fan, about which I wrote about here), Raúl Baena was accused of not shaking Messi's hand, accusations which he denied and instead stated that Messi had not offered his hand.

But Baena is crucial to Rayo - he was fellow youth graduate Javi Márquez's foil at Espanyol and is Roberto Trashorras's at Rayo. Aggressive, tenacious, hard working and never afraid to put in a tackle, Baena keeps the midfield engine running. His absence due to a cruciate ligament injury towards the end of last season was acutely felt as Rayo fell from La Liga and were free falling in the Segunda.

And it will be felt for another two months. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Non-league Incider: Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 East Thurrock United

When I was more young and foolish I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't visit a football stadium until I visited Vallekas. Frustrated by my inability to plan a trip, I broke that promise by watching a game in the sixth tier of English football.

This is that game. This is my story.

If I've learnt anything, it's this: never make promises to yourself. Promises to yourself are like bonds to an imaginary world - they're not attached to anything. Instead, they only serve to frustrate you, and sometimes those around you.

In 2016, I remember being outside Wembley and not going inside for a stadium tour. In 2014, I remember giving up the opportunity to watch Real Madrid play AC Milan in Dubai. For a year the stadiums of Chelsea and Fulham were on the same street as mine. For three years, every time my friend said he was going to watch Leyton Orient, every time my brother talked about his love for Arsenal, every time I looked at a map of London and saw how close I was to the …

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…

Non-league Incider: Cray Valley Paper Mills 4-4 Punjab United Gravesend

Last game: 9th August: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers
After ripping up my groundhopping calendar, mostly because I was determined to avoid overnight travel, and partly due to other commitments, there was a period of time where non-league football took a backseat.
But that period did not last long. Because of course it didn't.

Secretly, I'd loved travelling over ten hours back-and-forth to watch some 10th division football. And this was 9th division football in London.
When I had gone to East Dulwich exactly a week back, I had commented on how the amount of graffiti struck me as I watched from on board a southeastern train. I was going the exact same way, but much further this time - then I had stopped at Denmark Hill, now I would have to go six stations further. The graffiti I had thought was so emblematic of south London quickly disappeared, as did the tall buildings desperately cluttered together. We, and by we I mean me, were going to the suburbs. The stations be…