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Rayo's managerial academy (8th April, 2017)

While Rayo has a strong youth academy that produces some top quality, La Liga-caliber players, it is also a club where many managers start, and in most cases boost, their careers.

Here's a list of those managers and how their careers have progressed since then:

Míchel (José Miguel González Martín del Campo)

After a long and successful career at Real Madrid, being part of the legendary Quinta del Buitre and a season at Celaya in Mexico, he retired in 1997 and took charge of Rayo for the 2005-06 Segunda B season - it was the only season out of the four spent in the Segunda B that Rayo didn't even qualify for the playoffs. He would go on to take charge of Real Madrid B as a coach while also being director of Real Madrid's sports city, the entire youth system. He would coach his son, Adrián, but get relegated to the Segunda B in 2007 and left.

His career went upwards from there - in 2009 he took over at Getafe for two seasons, beating the drop both times (he would coach his son there too). After a failed stint at Sevilla during the 2012-13 La Liga took over Olympiacos in 2013, where he would win two consecutive league titles. He would then take over Marseille for part of the 2015-16 season, and was appointed Málaga CF's third manager of the season on 7th March 2017, following Juande Ramos and Marcelo Romero.

Míchel (Miguel Ángel Sánchez Muñoz)

Yes, the one that currently manages Rayo,

Julen Lopetegui

After five seasons at Rayo, Julen retired in 2002 and became one of Spain coach Juan Santisteban's assistants at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship. After the tournament, he was appointed Rayo's coach, but was sacked after 10 matches during a tumultuous 2003-04 Segunda campaign which led to Rayo's second relegation in two years (about which I've written before, read it here). He would leave managing for a while to work as a commentator, but then in 2008 he took over at Real Madrid B for a season.

From 2010 to 2014, Lopetegui worked with the Spanish youth teams, winning the 2012 European Under-19 Championship and the 2013 Under-21 Championship. He left the Royal Spanish Football Federation on 30 April 2014, following the expiration of his contract.

He would then take over at Porto, where he guided them to the quarters of the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League, but lack of silverware meant that he was fired on 8th January, 2016.

Since July 2016, he has been coaching the Spanish national football team.

Marcos Alonso Peña

Marcos Alonso Peña (aka Marcos) failed to break through the youth ranks and went back to Santander, where he made his professional debut at the age of just 17.

His impressive performances as a winger led him to be picked up by Atlético Madrid at the age of just 19, and after three seasons he became the most expensive signing in Spain when Barcelona shelled out 150 million pesetas for him. Marcos would go on to hurt Real Madrid several times - he would score a last minute goal against them to win the 1983 Copa del Rey final for Barcelona, and his first ever stint as coach was at Rayo, who famously beat Real 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabéu, a game that led to institutional chaos and the sacking of Jorge Valdano.

As a player he also led Racing Santander to the Segunda in 1991, and was a runner-up with Spain in the 1984 Euro tournament. And as a manager he gave Rayo Vallecano a moment of history, took Sevilla to La Liga, and steadied the ship at clubs such as Real Zaragoza, Real Valladolid and Málaga.

(Taken from a previous article I wrote about him - you read it here)

Felines (Félix Barderas Sierra)

He was the Iniesta of his time - a left winger who dazzled and amazed.

Born in Pedro Bernardo, Ávila, Castile and León, Felines joined Rayo Vallecano in 1965 after only playing amateur football in Madrid. He joined Rayo when they had returned to the Segunda. He played with the club till 1978 - making sure that Rayo were promoted (1977) before retiring at the age of 34.

Felines appeared regularly with Rayo, netting a career-best seven goals in 1972–73 and achieving promotion to La Liga in 1976–77 after featuring in all league matches.

Shortly after his retirement Felines was appointed Rayo Vallecano B manager in 1979, also being an interim manager of the main squad in a 0–7 away loss against Real Madrid on 3 February 1980. After spells at Getafe Deportivo and Real Ávila CF, he returned to Rayo in 1987, now as a permanent manager of the first team.

Felines led the club to an impressive second place in the 1988–89 campaign, but was sacked in January 1990 after a poor season in the main category overall. Shortly after he was named Racing de Santander manager, achieving another promotion in 1991.

After two years at Talavera CF Felines re-joined Rayo for a third spell, but his reign only lasted two months. He subsequently returned to Talavera, narrowly missing out the play-offs in two consecutive seasons.

Felines subsequently resumed his career in Segunda División B and Tercera División, managing UD Marbella, CF Fuenlabrada, CD Guadalajara, Real Balompédica Linense and Getafe CF. With the latter he achieved promotion to the second level in 2002, but was relieved from his duties on 19 January 2003.

In August 2003 Felines was appointed at the helm of Badajoz, but was sacked in February of the following year. He only returned to the bench six years later, with his former club Talavera.

José Antonio Camacho

His story may be the best of all - following his retirement as a player in 1989, which included 15 first-team seasons at Real Madrid, Camacho began coaching in Real Madrid's coaching staff. His first professional experiences were spent at Rayo Vallecano (1992-93) and RCD Espanyol (1994-96), both of which he helped promote to the top division.

After a spell at Sevilla (1996-97), in the summer of 1998, Camacho took over Real Madrid's first team, but left after only 22 days over disagreements with the club's management.

Camacho succeeded Javier Clemente as national team manager in September 1998, after a shock 2–3 loss in Cyprus in a Euro 2000 qualifier. The tide quickly turned under the new boss, who led the side to the final stages, where it bowed out to eventual champions France in the quarter-finals.

Two years later, Camacho's team lost in the same stages to South Korea, now in the 2002 World Cup; following the controversial defeat he announced his resignation, being replaced by Iñaki Sáez.

Camacho returned to club action subsequently, being appointed at S.L. Benfica from Portugal on 29 November 2002 in the place of sacked Jesualdo Ferreira. Two years later, his team won the Taça de Portugal against José Mourinho-led FC Porto in extra-time, as well as finishing second in the Primeira Liga.

A tough tackler in his playing days, Camacho also showed a human side when he cried profusely after Miklós Fehér died on the pitch, shortly after entering Benfica's match at Vitória de Guimarães.

For the 2004–05 season, Camacho returned to Real Madrid on a two-year contract as a replacement to sacked Carlos Queiroz. However, things quickly went wrong again in his second spell after a 0–3 defeat at Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the campaign's UEFA Champions League, and a 0–1 league loss at Espanyol four days later, in September; shortly after, he resigned and was replaced by assistant Mariano García Remón.

Following Fernando Santos' mutual agreement termination of contract with Benfica, after a 1–1 away draw with Leixões S.C. in 2007–08 Portuguese League's opener, Camacho returned to Benfica.[10] However, following a poor string of results, and claiming he was no longer able to motivate the team, he announced he would leave the club, minutes after drawing a home match against bottom-placed U.D. Leiria on 9 March 2008.

After working as co-commentator on Spanish TV network Cuatro during Spain's victorious Euro 2008 campaign (he would also work for the channel during the 2010 World Cup, which also ended with the national team's triumph), on 13 October 2008, Camacho replaced José Ángel Ziganda at the helm of CA Osasuna.

On 14 February 2011, following a 0–1 away loss against Real Sociedad that placed the Navarrese inside the relegation zone, Camacho was fired. The club eventually finished in ninth position.

On 13 August 2011, Camacho took over the reins of the Chinese national team, signing a three-year deal for a reported annual salary of US$8 million. However, China failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, after only finishing third in the third qualifying round with three wins and three losses. Camacho was also in charge as a Chinese young squad lost 0–8 to Brazil on 10 September 2012 in a friendly match, the national team's worst-ever defeat which also meant the drop to an all-time low 109th position in the FIFA World Rankings.

In the first game of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualification campaign, Camacho and China lost 1–2 against Saudi Arabia. Following a 1–5 shock friendly loss to Thailand on 15 June 2013, he was relieved of his duties.

One reason cited for Camacho's shortcomings in Asia was the limitation of football boots. The Chinese FA ordered that all the national team players were to wear Adidas, whilst most players in the Chinese Super League wore Nike, thus creating discomfort.

Camacho was appointed as Gabon manager 43 days before the start of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations who was to take place in that country, replacing Jorge Costa. The team exited in the group stage, with three draws.

Chato (Eduardo González Ruiz)

Born in Madrid, González joined Real Madrid's youth setup in 1961. After making his professional debut while on loan at neighbours Rayo Vallecano in Segunda División, he was promoted to the first team in 1966.

González made his La Liga debut on 18 September 1966, in a 1–0 away win against Pontevedra CF. However, he only appeared rarely for the Blancos, and was a part of the squad which won three league titles in a row.

In January 1969 González was loaned to Real Murcia in the second level. The loan was renewed for one year in the summer, and he was an undisputed starter for the side which suffered relegation.

González subsequently returned to Real Madrid, making no appearances during the campaign. In 1971 he moved to Xerez CD in the second tier, and retired with the club in 1973.

In 1978 González was appointed manager of Rayo Vallecano in the top level. Replaced by Héctor Núñez in the following year, he was again named at the helm of the main squad in 1980, with the side now in the second tier.

González would subsequently manage RSD Alcalá, Real Ávila CF, CP Cacereño, Real Murcia, Getafe CF, Córdoba CF and Real Murcia again - twice.

Heriberto Herrera

Herrera played for Club Nacional of Paraguay and for Atlético Madrid. While playing for the Paraguay national football team he led the team to win the 1953 Copa América against Brazil and was named the best player of the tournament. He later played one game for the Spain national football team in 1957.

As a coach, he managed Spanish teams (Rayo Vallecano at the end of the 1958-59 Segunda, Tenerife (1959-61), Granada and Valladolid (1961-62), Espanyol (1962-63, 1978), Elche CF (1963-64, 1978-80), Valencia CF (1976-77) and Las Palmas (1982) among them) and Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan.

He coached Juventus from 1964 to 1969, winning one scudetto in the 1966–67 season and one Coppa Italia in the 1964–65 season. Herrera ranks second in most games as a Juventus coach with 162 (Giovanni Trapattoni is first with 402 games).

As the coach of Internazionale (1969-71), he led the team to a second-place finish in the 1969–70 Serie A season. He also coached Sampdoria (1971-73) and Atlanta (1974-75)

Ramón Cobo

Played as a defender for Real Gijón (1949-50) on loan from Club Atlético de Madrid (1950-58) and Rayo (1959-61). Took over Rayo at the ago of just 32 for 8 games during the 1960-61 season which ended in relegation.

Subsequently took over C.D. Manchego (1963-64), Recreativo (1964-66), Racing Santander (1966-67), Tenerife (1967-68, ended in relegation), Real Oviedo (1968-69), Real Murcia (1969-70, also ended in relegation), and Atlético B for two stints between 1971-74.

There might be some more managers I've missed out, especially when Rayo were in the Tercera.


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