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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.

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