Skip to main content

Fran Beltrán. The best Basque striker. And the best Mirandés player (28th May, 2017)

A player who we all love at the club. Fran has more maturity than his age says


-Paco Jémez, in 2015

I was wrong.

Fran Beltrán has been linked with Barcelona many times. His talent is unquestionable and his desire to make it at Rayo undeniable.

But his desire to stay at Rayo was always in doubt. Despite signing a new contract that kept him at the club till 2020, a eight million euro release clause seemed like the board were looking to make a quick buck.

It's important to know his history - at the tender age of 16, Fran made his Rayo B debut against CD San Fernando in December 2015. A tireless midfielder with excellent technique and ball-winning capabilities, he has also been called up for the U-17 Spanish national football team, and regularly plays for the first team.

But in an interview with Marca this week, Fran said this:

"I was clear that if another team came, Madrid or Barça, I wanted to stay here. I can not think of a better place than Rayo"

Obviously, words are just that - words. It's undeniable that Fran will be tempted to leave. But it's always nice to know that the future of the Rayo midfield is in safe hands - at least for now.



There are difficulties in player's lived when you remove the glamour of the First Division, where players have already gained higher economic status and better sporting opportunities. 

Born in Barakaldo, Biscay, Urko Vera played mostly amateur football until the age of 23, having represented Basque giants Athletic Bilbao as a youth from ages 10–12. During his spell at SD Lemona, he received part of his wage by taking the team's kits to the laundry. 

In the last minutes of the 2011 January transfer window, after impressing with Lemona in Segunda División B (the club was coached by legendary Athletic player Aitor Larrazábal), Vera was acquired by the Lions, signing a one 1/2-year contract and initially being assigned to the reserve side, Bilbao Athletic.

He earned the the affection of Athletic fans, despite playing just five games, for his hard work and his determination. The 6'3" striker showed humility at a club that competes with the very best - difficult even at a club where Basque identity is a symbol of pride.

After being released in 2011 he resumed his career in Segunda División, representing five clubs in just four years, including Hércules, Ponferradina, Alcorcón, Eibar and Mirandés. For the last club, he netted 20 times in all competitions.

Vera moved to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors FC in the K League Classic in late July 2015. Six months later, in January of the following year, he returned to his country and joined Osasuna in the second level.


In August 2016, Vera signed a one-year deal with Huesca, still in the second tier. The following year in January, he returned to Mirandés after leaving by mutual consent.

At a struggling Mirandés, he is already the second top scorer with five goals. He works hard for his goals, he runs without pause, he is strong in the air and he creates space for teammates.

But, most of all, he is humble. He listens to the coaches instructions. He puts his heart and soul in every game without any applause to greet it.

He is the best Basque striker. Period.



Urko Vera is arguably the most successful Mirandés player. But the player who Mirandés fans will always keep in their hands is someone, ironically, from Burgos.

He spent until the age of 29 in the Tercera. Pablo Infante played at youth level with local Real Burgos CF, Vadillos CF and Racing Lermeño. He started playing senior football at the age of 19, for Racing Lermeño (1999-02), Río Vena (2002-03) and Arandina (2003-05).

In 2005, Mirandés acquired his services while in the fourth division. Pablo Infante was a constant in an ever changing squad, helping the team to the Segunda B in 2009. In 2011–12, his name became known in Spain after the Castile and León club's performances in the campaign's Copa del Rey, disposing of La Liga clubs Villarreal and Racing de Santander, with the player scoring four of the team's six goals in those four matches, and eventually being crowned the competition's top scorer; in the domestic league, he netted 13 goals in the regular season alone to help the side promote to division two for the first time ever.

At the age of 32, Pablo Infante made his professional debut in the Segunda, and in the 2013-14 season he even scored nine goals. He subsequently played for Ponferradina for two seasons (2014-16), before retiring.

But even nine seasons with the Rojillos may not have cemented his place in the club's history.

It turned out that Infante spent years refusing offers from club in higher divisions due to his work as director of a bank branch, located 50 kilometers from Mirandés' facilities.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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 …

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 suburbs. The stations be…

Non-league Incider: St Helens Town 3-0 Atherton Laburnum Rovers

Last game: 8th August: Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 East Thurrock United

The previous day, I was blown away by my first ever football match experience. Dulwich Hamlet impressed me, but what impressed me more was the journey. The travel to the stadium was just as enjoyable as the football itself.

I had caught the groundhopping bug.

There were no games scheduled for the 9th of August. There was one, near Wigan, and all I had booked earlier was a refundable bus ticket from Manchester Airport leaving at quarter past midnight.

I should have refunded it. This was a mistake. This whole day was a mistake.

I was only slightly hungover from the previous night, but that was nothing compared to this feeling of loss - I couldn't handle the fact that there was a game happening. And I wasn't too far away. Just three hours and a bit. They'll fly by, I thought.

I was in autopilot. Something within me made me get up, grab a bag, and get out the door. This wasn't me. I wasn't travelling - I was …