Skip to main content

Alejandro "Chori" Domínguez - Crazy man, crazy passes, true Rayista: part 4 (18th April, 2017)

You can read part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 here.

In the 1949-50 season, Rayo changed their white shirt for the current uniform - one with a red diagonal strip crossing their chest. River Plate visited the city to play a friendly against Real Madrid. The managers of Rayo visited the Argentinians, legends back then, to honor them and the humble club let them their stadium to train, where both clubs played an informal game. Some days later, a box from Argentina found its way to Vallekas - full of River shirts. Even though the shirts had the kid size, the club adopted the River shirt as its own. Despite Atlético Madrid wanting them to wear their shirt, Rayo kept their new shirt and never changed it, since the agreement with the colchoneros only lasted one year.

Corporations are not inherently evil. Some are good to people and benevolent to their employees, but this is not the rule, it’s the exception. The pursuit of profit supersedes everything else.

We don't think of footballers as employees - but they are. They sign contracts, can be given employment regulation orders and are financial assets in the eyes of owners.

What makes modern football so beautiful is that some - few, but some - of these employees love the game, or love a particular club, and stay for a reason other than the paycheck - like Javi Fuego rejecting a 800,000 euro move to Club Brugge in January 2012 because he loved playing at a club that couldn't even pay its players.

In late June 2012, after he had achieved the return to the first division with River Plate, Domínguez was told he would not continue to play for River, as the club decided not to negotiate his transfer from Valencia. He left River Plate, alongside top scorer and former captain Fernando Cavenaghi, both stating irreconcilable differences with club president, Daniel Passarella. He didn't stay in Valencia and joined Rayo Vallecano on a one-year deal.

That season, 31-year-old Alejandro's five goals and seven assists led to an eight place finish and a move to Olympiacos - his dribbling skills and "Hollywood passes" were as much a part of the squad as Piti's goals, Léo Baptistão's hype and Lass Bangoura's inconsistency.

He had left Valencia for Rayo, but he didn't have to. He would have been given a spot at Valencia and have been well paid, but he chose to join a club that had just survived relegation in the last minute and which had players publicly speaking out against the owners for non payment of wages.

He joined because of the red stripe on the white home shirt, which reminded him of his home team River Plate's kit.

Is that crazy? Absolutely, yes. But love is crazy - and he loved River Plate.

And in terms of being revered by Rayo fans, he wasn't too shabby either. His nickname in Vallekas was El Mago, a sacred title conferred only once by a club's fans - and only on the most dazzling of club legends. Examples in Spain include Cádiz's Mágico González, Valencia's David Silva, and Sevilla's Vassilios Tsiartas.

Why? Maybe because his debut was a 31 minute substitute appearance, featuring two assists - both brilliant low crosses from the right wing - to inspire Rayo from 4-0 down against Atlético Madrid to 4-3. Or inspiring Rayo from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against Celta - the second goal was a direct assist, and the third an indirect one. Or salvaging a point against Osasuna by unselfishly squaring to Piti. Or equalizes against Getafe by showing his intelligence when, deployed as a striker, he makes a perfect run to latch onto Trashorras' through ball, dribbles past the goalkeeper and scores.

Maybe because his runs, his willingness to dribble past players, and his attitude was a joy to watch.

But it was definitely because he loved the shirt, one way or another, and sweated it out while still being an exciting attacker.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

From Catalonia to Heybridge - the story of an eighth division club (19th October, 2017)

After spending his whole life at UDA Gramenet and a season at Europa, Guillem Ramón moved to Terrassa in the summer of 2014. It was just another Catalan player transferring between two clubs in the Catalan regional leagues - nothing extraordinary.

But it was consequential.

In March 2015, in a match against Sabadell, the full back suffered a complete meniscal rupture, and his season was over. So was his contract - and a big chunk of the 2015-16 season as well. He ended up signing for Cerdanyola, without pay (as he was recuperating), and the doctors said that January would be his return time. However, he debuted in November.

In hindsight, it was a mistake.

After two games, in a training session, on November 25th he got injured again - this time in the quadriceps in the same leg. After two months of recuperation, and still no guarantee of pay, Guillem left for new pastures in February 2016. A trial at Coplestonians FC followed; so did an opportunity at Needham Market FC, in the seventh t…

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 …

Fuenlabrada - the mighty challengers: Part 2; aka Juan Quero - the roller-coaster (15th October, 2017)

In just a few months, Fuenlabrada have competed for promotion to the Segunda, signed a center-back from a La Liga side, and will now be playing Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.

This is part 2 of a series about Fuenlabrada, the mighty challengers to Real Madrid, who they play in the cup on the 26th of October.

You can read part 1 here.



He was short. Very short. At 5'3", the left winger sometimes played in an over-sized shirt.

The ball never left his feet. His feet were tiny but they had magic. A dizzying array of body feints, close control, direction changes and sheer speed, often resembling a roller-coaster, left opposition defenders outwitted. And yes - sometimes, he frustrated. Sometimes, he was irregular.

But when he turned up, the world was at his feet.

If Juan Quero plays against Real Madrid he'll be playing against the club that let him go. The club that didn't think he had it in him to become a La Liga player.

The club that was wrong. Very, very wrong - he went fr…