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New Facebook page! The 2008-09 Rayo stories (21st July, 2017)

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A while back I spoke to NUFCBlog.co.uk about Mohamed Diamé and how at Rayo he developed into the most sought-after prospect in world football:

"They had Danny Drinkwater – we had 33-year-old club legend and pass master Míchel. They had Christian Fuchs and we had 39-year-old left-back Carles Llorens. They had Kasper Schmeichel and we had David Cobeño. They had Mark Albrighton and we had Jofre. They had Riyad Mahrez and we had Miguel Albiol. They had N’Golo Kanté, and we had Mohamed Diamé. And while each of those players have stories that are worth sharing, the last one sticks out the most."

Now that I've spoken about Mo Diamé, it's time.

Here are the other stories.



"It was an agreement between clubs. What happened was that I did not want to leave, I was very comfortable at Rayo; we were going to play in Europe and I wanted to stay in Vallecas. I identified with the club and I felt important inside. But they had already reached an agreement and I had to leave; The truth is that it was the saddest moment I had while at Rayo. "



-Carlos Llorens

Left-back Carlos Llorens was a late bloomer. He had to wait until the age of 26 to make his professional debut, in the second division with UE Lleida in 1995, after having played for Tomelloso, Cartagena, Elche and Levante. He scored 10 goals for Leganés in the 1997-98 season, and helped Rayo gain promotion to LaLiga the season after.

For the penalty-kick specialist, a long and arduous journey to La Liga was coming to its final stop on the verge of turning 30.

That La Liga debut was a 2-0 win at, oddly enough, Atlético Madrid.

With Jesús Gil in charge, things were always going to be turbulent at Atlético. Zambrano got off to a rough start in 2000-01 and was sacked after just five games, and the three players (Llorens, Iván Amaya and Jean-François Hernandez) who joined him from Rayo immediately saw their futures thrown into doubt.

Llorens played 12 of the first 13 league games but jumped at the chance to leave, signing for Osasuna in La Liga after six months. And after stints at Alavés and Poli Ejido, he ended up having a second stint at the club he loved - Rayo - which he joined at the age of 37 and where he retired three years later, even helping them get out of the Segunda B.

He is the second oldest goalscorer in the Segunda - 4th if you count both La Liga and the Segunda.



He is one of just three players who who stayed with the club from 2004 all the way till 2008, when Rayo jumped out of the well and into the Segunda.

Miguel Albiol (yes, Raúl Albiol's older brother) arrived at Rayo in 2004 after graduating from Valencia, making his La Liga debut at the age of 21, helping Real Murcia to a La Liga promotion in 2003, and a Segunda season with Recre. He played at Rayo for five seasons (till 2009), playing a staggering 190 league games - a starter in the right side of midfield for all five seasons - scoring 18 league goals. He went on to play for Real Murcia for another six seasons, finally retiring in 2015.





David Aganzo was one of many players who directly confronted Martín Presa in 2011. He had not been paid for fourteen months, Rayo had just returned to La Liga, and he was being offered 70% less than promised.

He was blunt in his interviews, angry with his situation and left Vallekas, but his sporting achievements must not be overlooked. His physical problems and excessive temperament plagued him at Rayo but he still managed to score more goals per 90 minutes, and sometimes more goals overall, than any other player. In fact, out of 114 league games, he was eligible for just 64, with 50 games lost due to injuries and suspensions.

A Real Madrid graduate, David would spend four consecutive loan spells at CF Extremadura, RCD Espanyol, Real Valladolid and Levante UD before joining La Liga outfit Racing Santander where three seasons, including a loan spell in Isreal at Beitar Jerusalem, yielded few opportunities. He would drop down a division, signing for Alavés, and having a breakout season. He scored 11 goals in 37 league games, but financial problems meant he was released and signed for Rayo in 2008 at the age of 27.

He played 1908 minutes in his first season, rotating with Sergio Pachón and despite playing less minutes was top scorer with 12 goals in 30 games. However, disciplinary problems, which had led to 15 yellow cards and a red at his previous club, never went away - he picked up another 11 yellows and another red. Moreover, he would complete on eight of the 24 matches he started, with six further substitute appearances.

But it was his second season in which he really surprised - injuries meant he played just 19 games and completed just two of them, had nine substitutes appearances and still scored nine goals in 913 minutes of football. He still managed to pick up five yellow cards though.

In the final season, disciplinary problems and injuries took surface once again, and he scored seven goals in 23 games. He started 18 of them, and yet finished only two; he picked up seven yellows and a red; and 1472 minutes of football later he was gone from Rayo at 30 years old.

A failed stint at Hércules, two seasons in Greece and another season at Lugo failed to reap many goals, and he retired at 33. He is now the technical secretary of the AFE.



Míchel, Piti, Antonio Amaya, Salva, Coke, Carlos de la Vega, and Yuma took the club from the Segunda B to La Liga, playing for the club between 2007 and 2011 at least.



They called him el ultrahéroe de Vallecas at Rayo. In hell, he was their ray of hope.

Born in Madrid, Pachón started his career in the fifth division of Spanish football, playing for Rayo Alúa in the 1995-96 season. He went on to play for Parla in the Tercera for the following two season, and was signed by Segunda club Leganés.

After helping the club retain their division two status, in 2000 he moved to La Liga outfit Real Valladolid. He would go on to play 31 games in his first year and 24 in the 2002–03 campaign, but only seven in the other two seasons combined. Failing to make an impact, he was released in January 2004 and moved to Segunda outfit Getafe, proving an essential offensive unit in the club's first ever promotion to the top division - on 19 June, he scored all five goals in the decisive 5–3 away win against Tenerife. He was mainly used as a substitute in the following three seasons and also helping the side to the 2007 final of the Copa del Rey.

Immediately after playing the 2007 cup final, Sergio dropped down to the Segunda B and helped Rayo Vallecano to promotion in his first season, scoring 16 goals. He finished the following year with nine goals as the team overachieved for a final fifth place. He would go on to play for Cádiz in the 2010-11 season in the Segunda B, and then helped Fuenlabrada to a Segunda B promotion in 2012. He stayed at the club till 2016, before retiring.

His heart belonged to Getafe, even as he belonged to Rayo fans' hearts. He returned to the club as a part of the technical staff of the youth teams in 2016.



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