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Movilla and the other Rayo. Munir and how a tweet got him to Barcelona (26th May, 2017)

Ahead of the Zaragoza-Rayo game, I wanted to write a piece dedicated to José María Movilla, "the terrier".

But how do I start?

He was the player who Trashorras succeeded. José María Movilla was once a bin man and then a union man throughout his playing career. He too was from Real Madrid's youth system. He helped Numancia reach the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey while they were still in the Segunda B, and even helped level the tie against Barcelona with a 89th minute goal (2-2, 5-3 loss on aggregate). He took Málaga from the Segunda B to La Liga in back-to-back seasons. He helped Atlético Madrid return to La Liga, won the Copa del Rey and avoided relegation with Real Zaragoza,

Not to mention a top flight return for Rayo Vallecano.

He is currently the sporting director of Rayo Majadahonda.



"I was doing coaching practice with Iriondo, there was a vacancy and my name was proposed. That attractive style of Rayo - we have it here too!" 

-Movilla

If you're an Atlético Madrid fan, you know the Estadio Cerro del Espino. It's where the club won the league title this season with the women's team, where the B team plays and nurtures talent. It's also where Rayo plays their home games.

No, not Rayo Vallecano - Rayo Majadahonda.

Heck, the stadium was inaugurated on the 13th of September, 1995 in a friendly match between Rayo Majadahonda and Atlético Madrid. Atlético won 0-1.

In return, Rayo Majadahonda are an informal feeder club for Atlético.



"I’m going to Osasuna," tweeted 15-year-old striker Munir El Haddadi in 2011.

The Madrid-born player with Moroccan parents had been rejected by both Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid and his agent was looking at other options. The pair were about to leave for Pamplona when a Barcelona representative in Madrid saw the tweet. He called Munir’s agent.

"Have you signed for Osasuna?" asked Jose Luis Colomo.

"Not yet," replied Antonio Gabaldón - the same man who discovered Emilio Butragueño, and who had discovered Munir playing in a wasteland in Galapagar, a town on the outskirts of Madrid.

Colomo, who had watched the young striker, told the agent that he would call Barcelona. He rang Antonio Puig, the head of Barca’s youth football department. Barca were interested, so Munir held back on signing with Osasuna.

The Catalans dispatched García Pimienta, coach of a junior Barca team, to Spain’s capital to watch Munir and verify accounts from their man in Madrid that he couldn’t stop scoring for the junior teams of Rayo Majadahonda, a third-division club - he had scored 32 goals in 29 matches in the 2010-11 season.

He came to watch the Brunete-Majadahonda match. Munir scored a hat-trick early on and he left at half-time. He had seen enough. Two days later Munir joined La Masia.

He chose Barcelona over Osasuna, Real Madrid, who were now showing interest again, Manchester City, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano. Barcelona provided full-time accommodation for him in the famed Masia academy, which Madrid didn’t offer for their local youngsters. Munir moved 600 kilometres to Barcelona.

The rest is history.




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He was short. Very short. At 5'3", the left winger sometimes played in an over-sized shirt.

The ball never left his feet. His feet were tiny but they had magic. A dizzying array of body feints, close control, direction changes and sheer speed, often resembling a roller-coaster, left opposition defenders outwitted. And yes - sometimes, he frustrated. Sometimes, he was irregular.

But when he turned up, the world was at his feet.

If Juan Quero plays against Real Madrid he'll be playing against the club that let him go. The club that didn't think he had it in him to become a La Liga player.

The club that was wrong. Very, very wrong - he went fr…