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UCAM Murcia 0-1 Rayo: The untold story. Oh, and Freddy Adu in Vallekas? (17th April, 2017)

There are many story lines about the 90 minutes of football that took place that can be dealt with. One is the fact that a stadium that can hold 6,500 thundered against the incessant support of 150 fans who chanted Rayo until the game was over and the players had very visible smiles on their faces. Another is the fact that Rayo have picked up 11 points out of a possible 15. Or that they won just their third away win of the season. Or the fact that Gazzaniga saved Rayo from a late UCAM Murcia onslaught. Or that Ernesto Galán may be the most underappreciated defensive right back there is. Or that Fran Beltrán was excellent as usual. Or that Patrick Ebert's free kick to set up Javi Guerra's goal was perfectly set up for Javi's head.

But, once again, Rayo were losing control - Santi Comesaña was having an off game and Trashorras looked tired.

And, once again, the savior was not recognized.

His shirt number says number eight but it is just that - a shirt number. And while it is Trashorras that makes the team tick, it is Raúl Baena who breaks up play and is quietly at the right place at the right time.

When it comes to speed of thought, he is second to none. He is constantly analyzing the field, where to go, when to go, how to receive the ball, how to release the ball and whom. 

Underestimating him means not realizing what he is worth - and he is worth a lot to this team.


There was no cash available to even bring him in on loan.

It was the 2011-12 winter transfer window, and turmoil in Rayo's finances meant creativity. They had loaned Jordi Figueras for the whole season but Club Brugge wanted to buy him outright from Rubin - and so Rayo stalled his loan return till the end of the window so that he could play an extra four games - he eventually left after two, though. It meant that when they brought in Joel, Diego Costa, Emiliano Armenteros and Jorge Pulido on loan they were paid for by the clubs that owned them. It meant that when Rayo traveled to play Real Sociedad they went by bus, and it took much longer than the usual five hours because the driver had been told to stay off toll roads. It meant that when right midfielder Néstor Susaeta and striker Koke left for Switzerland and Azerbaijan respectively for free, Rayo actually made money because they had effectively waived any unpaid wages.

It meant that when Freddy Adu came to Vallekas for a 10 day trial, and impressed the staff as a genuine replacement for Lass who was leaving for AFCON, and searched for apartments in Vallekas, the club was searching for the cash it didn't have to pay for him.

And yet, when Brugge offered €800,000 to Javi Fuego - the Baena of the squad - he declined, saying how much he enjoyed playing for Rayo.

A piece on Javi Fuego is definitely coming soon...

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