Skip to main content

Rival Watch: Levante. And Patrick Ebert's greatest performance. (26th April, 2017)

By the end of next weekend Rayo could still be mathematically in contention for relegation. By the end of next weekend Getafe could solidify their position in the playoff spots. 

But by the end of next weekend, Levante could be promoted to La Liga.

On the last day of the 2015-16 season, Levante were already down to La Segunda, down 2-0 at Vallekas, down partly due to bad luck, mostly due to mediocrity, down with an away record worse than even Sevilla - the only team that managed to do that - and, in the 31st minute, down a man with injury.

Than man, a man who warned he would cry if Levante went down, was 40-year-old captain Juanfran.
As he pulled out with a groin injury, he did cry. His final game in professional football was a game where his most sacred team were going down. Both sets of coaches and fans applauded, for that was the end of an era.

That was the image which Levante took with them. The only one.

That was the image Raimon took with him. The man who proudly assembles the flags that unfurl from the top of the main stand, had to take most of them down.

Rubi had been accused of playing too well, especially for a team that needed to avoid the drop. And Levante paid the price.



Pressing high up the pitch under the attacking philosophy of coach Juan Muñiz, opponents have barely got a whiff of the ball and Levante have been all over them.

Mind you, this is a team that lost their skipper in Juanfran (retired), their best midfielder in Víctor Camarasa, their best striker in Deyverson, their two goalkeepers in Rubén and Diego Mariño, and three other center backs.

Which just goes to show how hard work and a talented manager can do to a team whose fans chant “ugly, poor and bad at football" about their team.

Raimon did have to buy a whole new set of flags - but they’ll be confined to dust by next season.



Juan Muñiz was a former Rayo center-back, playing for the team from 1996-99, and was part of the team that got relegated to the Segunda in 1997 and the team that was promoted back in 1999.

Rayo tried getting him over the summer, but Levante won the race and Rayo moved on to other targets, eventually settling on Sandoval.



12th January, 2013. In the week that Rayo won 2-1 at Bilbao and were three points off a Champion's League spot, Valladolid won 3-1 against Mallorca. It was a routine week - just another win in a La Liga where headlines were filled with Barcelona's exploits.

But it was Patrick Ebert's performance in that game that struck me. Every play went through him - and it was not surprising that he scored twice and assisted the other. The quality of those goals was spectacular too - a long range shot that was as ridiculous as it was brilliant, and another that was remarkably similar to the famous one Zlatan scored for Ajax. The assist wasn't too bad either - a stunning cross that was perfectly placed for Óscar who needed just a touch from an outstretched leg to score.

And yet the goals only validate a performance that consisted of intricate passes, stunning dribbles, dangerous free kicks, and  audacious attempts at goal - including trying to chip the goalkeeper from near the goal line and hitting the post.

Watch it here:


Also, the list of top scorers for Valladolid that season reads - Óscar González (12), Manucho (8), Guerra (8), Ebert (6), Alberto Bueno (5). Any familiar names? :D

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Francisco Pérez Pérez - the actual oldest player to have played in Spain (1st November, 2017)

I've always wanted to ask a football player: how much do you love your club? If you see your club go down, what are you willing to put on the line to see them go back up? The notion that "players will come and players will go, but the fans are the club" is one that is sadly true in what has become a money-filled sport. The story of a player sacrificing money and success for his club? That story is rare. That story is beautiful. This is that story. This is the story of a player who loved his club. His local club. It'll be a long time if and when someone beats his record. Francisco Pérez Pérez, also known as Chico, currently holds the record for being the oldest player to play in the Segunda B - 43 years and 93 days is the figure. That's a figure that second place Diego Rodríguez Fernández (41 years and 324 days) falls short of by a year and 134 days. I should also point out that the top 3 list for oldest players to play in any of the top three tier

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 suburb

Who is Raúl Martín Presa, the Mickey Mouse? Part 1. (20th August, 2017)

José María Ruiz-Mateos was the head and main shareholder of Nueva Rumasa - the company that owned Rayo and other companies - mainly specializing in dairy products. (He wasn't the president of Rayo though - his wife, Teresa Rivero, was Rayo's president). In early 2011, the directors announced a debt of over 700 million euros, that it was on the verge of bankruptcy and that staff wouldn't be paid. And the players were visibly angry about it - captain Míchel assured the press that the club would continue fighting on the pitch, but the day after the announcement was made, six key players didn’t attend training. Veteran midfielder José María Movilla spoke on radio station SER about the situation, about the fact that he had only received seven of the last eighteen months of pay, about the fact that there were a few players who couldn't even afford car repairs. When Rayo Vallecano were about to earn promotion to La Liga despite all the odds - the players not being paid,