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Showing posts from August, 2017

A great Rayo moment - the other Tamudazo. And Javi Fuego (31st August, 2017)

13th May, 2012. 7:00pm. The league table reads 15th Granada (42 points), 16th Villarreal (41), 17th Rayo Vallecano (40), 18th Zaragoza (40). As Villarreal entertain Atlético Madrid at El Madrigal and Zaragoza visit Getafe, Rayo Vallecano play Granada at the Vallekas, arguably the crunch game; both know that most probably, the loser will go down to play in La Segunda. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Rayo Vallecano were in eighth place after match day 27, and were two points off a Europa League place. Four points off a Champions League place. But a poor record of three points - a solitary, albeit impressive, 6-0 win over Osasuna - from nine games, left them relegation candidates and needing a win. Only a win could save them. On the polar opposite side were Zaragoza, who had given up mid-season, but an impressive run of six wins and a draw in nine had helped them remain in 18th, needing a win. Granada had been in poor form all along - five points in their last six games hadn’

The Rayo aficionado - with David Méndez (30th August, 2017)

David Méndez grew up in Vallecas, is 39 and has been a member of Rayo since he was 17. You can follow him on Twitter: @davidvk78 . How long have you been a fan of Rayo and what made you support them in the first place? I was always keen about Rayo since my childhood, but because of my father I also supported Real Madrid when I was a child. He is a Real Madrid fan and he used to take my brothers and I to the Santiago Bernabéu. Later when I was a teenager I lost my interest in Real Madrid while my interest in Rayo increased more and more. Describe your first visit ever to Vallecas and the stadium? How would you describe the fans in the stadium, and how intimidating is the stadium for opposition fans and players? I don’t remember which it was my first visit to Vallecas’ stadium exactly. I guess it would be when I was at school and I was about 8 or 9 years old, by that time Rayo used to distribute tickets in the schools of the neighborhood and I got several tickets because other ki

A legend with no recognition - Badalona's 40 year old goalkeeper (29th August, 2017)

I love plotting a player's career on Google Maps and seeing how many years it took them to travel the distance it did. Obviously, for players who travel internationally, the fun quickly goes away. For example, Joan Verdú, the ex-Real Betis playmaker left for Baniyas (in the UAE) in 2014 - only to go all the way back to Fiorentina in the summer on 2015. Or Ricardo Quaresma, who in two-and-a-half years went from Besiktas to Al-Ahli (Dubai) to Porto, and back to Besiktas again. But sometimes, a player can impact just small communities with small clubs with even smaller ambitions. And their entire career, from when they were a little boy to when they're playing now at 41, can look like this. The stadiums of UDA Gramenet - CF Damm - UDA Gramenet - Torre Baró - FC Santboià - CE Mataró - Terrassa FC - UE Sant Andreu - CF Badalona That, right there, is a 182 kilometer journey, that would take 3 hours 17 minutes on road. It is also the journey of a man who loved Catalunya so mu

David Gil - the timeline of a talent (28th August, 2017)

This is the timeline of a goalkeeper who was the next big thing, and is now rebuilding his career in the Tercera - and he's only 23.  This is the story of David Gil... September 2, 2012 : Atlético Madrid B call up a young, 18-year-old goalkeeper from the Juvenil squad. David Gil straps on his gloves and grimaces as, on home soil, Caudal Deportivo score two goals past him. He misjudges the flight of the ball for the first and, in the 90th minute, is second to the ball against striker Borja Navarro for the second. September 9, 2012 : David Gil is given another chance. The team takes the short trip to south-west Madrid, playing CD Leganés. He squanders it. Again. This time, he loses concentration and is nowhere near the ball from a weak header - that comes of a throw-in set-piece - for the first. He is injured in the buildup to the second goal and is taken off at half-time. He doesn't come near the B team for the next three months. December 16, 2012 : Times are des

The Rayo Report: Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Numancia - 2 mindsets, 2 poor Athletic players. And Diamanka (27st August, 2017)

Rayo Vallecano vs Numancia. Starting Lineups. Míchel went with the same lineup that won against Real Oviedo 3-2. Jagoba Arrasate went with two changes from the squad that won 1-0 against Huesca - both in defense. Unai Medina, an attacking right back, was replaced by the more defensive minded Markel Etxeberria, on loan from Athletic Bilbao. And in the left center-back spot 6'4" Carlos Gutiérrez was replaced by 6'1" Alberto Escassi. Míchel, surprisingly, had Santi play even further up the pitch and join Trejo almost as a second striker, which meant that Rayo's midfield was even more wide open. In contrast, Arrasate's game plan for Numancia was very tailored to this game - ditching his usual 4-2-3-1 for a 4-4-2, with both Manu and Pere Milla pressing the center-backs heavily. This was a game of four parts - the first being from minutes 1 to 17, the second from minutes 18 to 45, the third from 46 to 80 and the fourth from 81 to 90. Numancia didn't tak

Tthe rise of Ahora Madrid in Vallekas and the south - in pictures (26th August, 2017)

Not so long ago, Spanish politics was a two-party system. The conservative center-right People's Party (Partido Popular or PP) and the center-left Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español or PSOE). There are regional parties that also play an important role, but let's just focus on the first two. After the 15-M movement (15th May, 2011), which was an anti-austerity movement which shook Spain to its very core, two more parties came to prominence. One was a left-wing, anti-austerity, populist party called Podemos led by Pablo Iglesias, a professor; the other was a centrist party called Citizens (Ciudadanos), a Catalan party that opposes Catalan nationalism and is led by Albert Rivera. The December 2015 national elections ended the two-party system - PP, PSOE, Podemos and C's got 123, 90, 69 and 40 seats respectively, and with 176 seats needed to form a government predictably nothing happened. A June 2016 election did little to resolve the

A new signing! The origins of Velázquez - Danubio (25th August, 2017)

July 26, 2017. Velázquez signs for Getafe for a year long loan from Atlético Madrid, with an option to buy. August 24, 2017. Velázquez signs for Rayo Vallecano on loan from Getafe. Yes, you read that right - Rayo have just loaned a loaned player. (Or Getafe have ceded the player back to Atlético - but that looks unlikely given how the club announced it). In January 2013, 19-year-old Uruguayan left-back Gianni Rodríguez was sold to Benfica for €800,000. In July 2013, 18-year-old Uruguayan center-back José María Giménez was sold to Atlético Madrid for €900,000. In August 2014, 20-year-old Uruguayan center-back Emiliano Velázquez was sold to Atlético Madrid for €1.1 million. And in July 2015, 20-year-old Uruguayan right-back Guillermo Cotugno was sold to Rubin Kazan for €1 million. The common link between them? All four were born in Uruguay, all four are world-class players in the making and all four players were bargains. Plus they would make a fearsome four-man defence. The

Ramón Folch - the remarkable rise of a midfield metronome (23nd August, 2017)

The ball arrives at his feet. For a split second - a second that is easily missed to the naked eye, every single player slows down. Time slows down. His eyes don't need to look around - the snapshots are firmly ingrained in his mind. He knows what to do. And once he does, the play keeps ticking. He dribbles, or passes, or holds on to the ball.  But whatever he does, whatever decision he makes, that split second changes everything. Strikers start make runs. Teammates start create passing lanes. Wingers run into space. If the opponent is not careful, that single split moment can destroy them.  Folch made his senior debut with local CA Roda de Barà in the Primera Catalana in 2007. In 2008 he signed for fellow league team FC Vilafranca, and represented Cambrils UCF the following campaign. In July 2010, he signed for Tercera División side CF Amposta - however, his signing (and that of Marc Vernet from Tortosa) were overshadowed by the acquisition of Antonio Domínguez from M

The Rayo Report: Real Oviedo 2-3 Rayo Vallecano - Midfield Madness and Wingers Win (21st August, 2017)

Welcome to a brand new tactical analysis series, called The Rayo Report! For the first time on this blog I will (attempt) to tactically analyse each and every Rayo league game. I emphasize on the word 'attempt'. Real Oviedo vs Rayo Vallecano. Starting Lineups. Míchel and Juan Antonio Anquela both went with unusual, yet predictable, lineups. Rayo were essentially playing Trashorras and two attacking midfielders in midfield which struggled to defend but was technically astounding going forward. Óscar Trejo played something between a true 9 and a false 9 - sometimes distracting and pressing defenders, other times making late runs into the box or even dropping deep into midfield. In contrast, Oviedo went for a front four that was both fluid and tactically near perfect. It became the centerpiece of Oviedo's attack as well as its defending from the front. But it also meant that their midfield was exposed throughout the game. This was an end-to-end game - partly due

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,

Roberto Trashorras: the best passer in Spain (i.e. the world) - statistics in pictures (19th August, 2017)

All figures from Roberto Trashorras made the most passes in La Liga in the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Here, in pictures,you can see that not only was he the best passer - he was surprisingly also the most accurate free kick taker! Total passes This one shouldn't be surprising. But what's striking is that he beat out Xavi, and then Toni Kroos twice . TWICE! The top 10 players with the most passes in total in the 2013-14 season The top 10 players with the most passes in total in the 2014-15 season The top 10 players with the most passes in total in the 2015-16 season Passes per 90 minutes Now, obviously Trashorras doesn't come first here - simply because he keeps the ball for longer than a traditional regista as he is the only "passer" in the Rayo midfield. And even then he manages to come very, very close. The top 10 players with the most passes per 90 minutes in the 2013-14 season The top 10 players wit

A tribute to Zé Castro - a player I didn't know already left! (18th August, 2017)

So as it turns out, I made a mistake. A few days ago, I talked about the Rayo squad, and as it turns out things are even worse - Zé Castro, who had reportedly rescinded his contract, had actually done so with no announcements being made. Because this is the Rayo website: Credit: I didn't even get to say goodbye! So here it is...a tribute to Zé Castro. August 29th, 2013. Leave it to Rayo to scramble at the last minute and make an amazing, seemingly impossible signing. This time, they made two. Zé Castro, and Seba Fernández half an hour later, were the two gems that had been picked up. Castro was a "boring" signing - he had played for Atlético de Madrid but was more of a backup. And at Depor, Zé Castro appeared in only ten games in 2009–10, and featured even less in the following season, prompting him to request a move in mid-November 2010. Some people even disliked him - in March 2011, he was to be picked as a last-minute substitut

The Cádiz Chronicles with @Vam_os - Part 4 (17th August, 2017)

Welcome back! This is part 4 - the last installment - of a series on Cádiz by the founder of , a website that focused on sports medicine and Spanish football. On Twitter, he is @Vam_os - go ahead and follow him! This part is about the state of Cádiz and their priorities for the upcoming season. And it hereby concludes The Cádiz Chronicles... Are Cádiz where you want them to be? Although everyone at the Ramón Carranza was up for promotion to the top league, I think personally that Cádiz’ main priority lies in establishing themselves as a strong second division club first and foremost before aiming any higher. That’s going to be the key. It’s not to say promotion to La Primera would be a bad thing; but the whole infrastructure at the club needs to be able to maintain that if and when that time comes. That’s the view also taken by the club president, Manuel Viscaino and it’s reassuring to know that he feels that way. In a recent interview he said that clubs wh

The Cádiz Chronicles with @Vam_os - Part 3 (16th August, 2017)

Welcome back! This is part 2 of a series on Cádiz by the founder of , a website that focused on sports medicine and Spanish football. On Twitter, he is @Vam_os - go ahead and follow him! This part is about talented youngsters and other signings, including rumors ... Talented youngsters and other signings... "Being Cádiz" means having pride in the local nature of the club and as such anyone who has a Cádiz connection - or former players like Chico Flores - will always come up in these discussions. A couple of years ago it was Rafael van der Vaart who was being talked about as a potential summer signing due to the Spanish side of his family being Andalusian and the fact that he promised his grandfather in Chiclana that one day he would play for Cádiz; but that never happened either. There was huge excitement in Sevilla when he signed for Betis; but that move just didn’t work out and you can't help thinking that Rafaelito made the wrong decision

The Cádiz Chronicles with @Vam_os - Part 2 (15th August, 2017)

Welcome back! This is part 2 of a series on Cádiz by the founder of , a website that focused on sports medicine and Spanish football. On Twitter, he is @Vam_os - go ahead and follow him! This part is about the club management and the fans... Club management Since being relegated to Segunda B in 2010, Cádiz have made no fewer than eight coaching changes! Álvaro Cervera came into the club in April 2016 with only four games left of the regular season in Segunda B, replacing Claudio Barragán as the push for promotion at that time had faltered. By that time Cádiz were starting to lose touch with the promotion leaders and the support weren’t happy with either the results or the performances on the field. Having lost to Bilbao Athletic in the promotion play-off final in season 2014 -15, Cádiz fans expected so much more. When this didn’t happen, and with a place in the play-offs looking less and less likely, understandably people became restless. It was widely a