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Mago del balón. And my thoughts on Rayo's current squad - it's complicated (14th August, 2017)

I was looking for ideas for today's post, and could find nothing. Every website, every Twitter feed, every draft saved in my folder was visited. I even looked back at previous blog posts, hoping to create a continuation, a spin-off, a new miniseries - anything.

And then this popped up on my phone:



Eureka.

Mago del balón, they had called him. His performances as a false 9 have provided hope in the face of an injury to our only striker Javi Guerra.

Look at Rayo's other signings, and you see another mago. "Chori" Domínguez was nicknamed El Mago during his previous stint by the Vallekas faithful. And while mago del balón is an honour, El Mago is a sacred title.

It is conferred only once by a club's fans - and only on the most dazzling of club legends. Examples in Spain include Cádiz's Mágico González, Valencia's David Silva, and Sevilla's Vassilios Tsiartas.



Speaking of our only striker getting injured, here is the squad we currently have:

Goalkeepers: Alberto García, Toño

Adequate? Not sure, given Toño's injury problems, but Lucho from Rayo B seems like optimal backup if truly necessary.

Center-backs: Antonio Amaya, Zé Castro, José Antonio Dorado

Definitely understaffed here - one more center-back might be needed, even if Kike from the B team did well in preseason.

Left-backs: Álex Moreno, Sergio Akieme, Johan Mojica*, Răzvan Raț**,
*Has permission to negotiate an exit, reportedly will be a Girona player
**Had permission to negotiate an exit, but is now training with the club but reportedly is still searching for a way out

Think we should be fine here.

Right-backs: Ernesto Galán

Four left-backs and just one right-back sums up how Rayo do business really. Definitely need a back-up here.

Midfielders:
Central: Fran Beltrán, Roberto Trashorras, Francisco Cerro, Unai López
Attacking: Óscar Trejo, Alejandro "Chori" Domínguez, Santi Comesaña

Genuinely happy with Unai López as a signing - gives the central midfield plenty of options.

As for attacking midfield - I'm not sure how impactful Chori will be in attacking midfield - think a January signing there and/or a Joni Montiel promotion might be necessary.

Wingers: Diego Aguirre, Lass Bangoura, Adrián Embarba

Genuinely impressed with Aguirre in preseason - composed finisher and pacey too. But definitely more reinforcements here are necessary.

Strikers: Javi Guerra

Definitely need another striker unless we are switching to using Óscar Trejo as a false nine permanently.




Those are just my impressions. Who knows - maybe Galán can cover at center-back, Joni Montiel can cover at false nine, someone in the B team can cover as a striker, Álex Moreno can go back to being a winger and we play three at the back - and suddenly the whole squad looks sorted.

If preseason is anything to go by, however, Rayo have little more than 18 days to sort out everything other than the midfield in the 4-3-3.

And all we can do is wait and watch...

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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…