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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 other common link? All were sold by Danubio FC, a club that settles for mid-table status in the Primera División Apertura year-on-year and has produced the likes of Walter Gargano, Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlán and Christian Stuani.

While Gianni Rodríguez is rebuilding his career in Uruguay, José María Giménez is now a superstar in the making. Velázquez is somewhere in the middle - he has shown promise and his spell at Rayo, I think, will determine his future.

If he can make it in the Segunda then his options open up. He could then potentially go the Saúl Ñíguez route and play for Atlético (obviously if Getafe don't sign him) or, at worst, go the Diego Llorente route and sign for a mid table La Liga club like Málaga.

And Cotugno has since signed for Real Oviedo, and I talked about him in my new tactical analysis series - shameless plug!



If there was one game I could point to that we were unlucky to not get the result that we deserved, and that contributed to our relegation, the 34th jornada against Málaga would definitely be top of the list.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

Barring an early Málaga advance which involved some half-chances by Chori Castro, Rayo were all over Málaga. Pass after pass, attack after attack, shot after shot, Rayo peppered Juan Carlos. Quini hit the post. Embarba nearly scored from a tight angle after a corner was taken short. Javi Guerra hit the crossbar. The surprise was not that Rayo scored, it was the nature of the goal - Embarba's shot ricocheting off Raúl Baena.

Approaching the final minutes, a feeling of dread spread through me. Something didn't feel right.

In the 91st minute, Juanpi Añor took a free kick on the left wing - almost near the half way line. It was too weak, and barely reached the box. But Ricardo Horta - who Jozabed should have challenged for the ball - headed the ball backwards, almost as if he was telling Juanpi "I got your back". The ball would then be challenged by Manucho and Roque Santa Cruz - and the latter headed the ball into the center part of the six yard box.

Jozabed, who was tracking Ricca, lost the left back as he moved towards Manucho.

Ricca was free. He needed only one touch. It was a goal before he even touched the ball. The goalkeeper didn't bother to move - he didn't have to.

In February 2016, 21-year-old Uruguayan left-back Federico Ricca was sold to Málaga for €2.5 million. On the 20th of April, 2016, Ricca, who was completely free in the box, permanently damaged Rayo.

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