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Jozabed - the risk-taker on and off the pitch (29th September, 2017)

In 2014, Jozabed Sánchez was a talent at Real Jaén, relegated to the Segunda B that summer.

When Jozabed’s four goals and 12 assists couldn’t prevent Real Jaén’s relegation to the theoretically amateur third-tier of Spanish football, he took the punt and joined Rayo in division one. It was a gamble, a huge one, and no one thought about the signing working out.

Two years later and with 10 goals and 3 assists not enough to save Rayo Vallecano, Jozabed was on his way to Fulham. The stakes of the gamble were even bigger this time. Not just because he had no preseason to work with. Not just because it was a different country, or a different league, but a different mentality. The history of Spaniards failing in the Championship is a long and damaging one. Those who succeed are the ones who fit the physicality-type stereotypes associated with the league. The playing style which made Jozabed shine in La Liga is almost the opposite of that - patient buildup play, quick transitions and short passing. But most of all, risk taking.



Jozabed first came onto the map for a performance that many La Liga scouts just could not miss. While at Real Jaén - in a man-of-the-match performance - he scored and provoked an own goal in a historic 2-2 draw against Espanyol. Intercepting passes, procuring last ditch tackles, taking high-risk long shots from outside the box and playing positive passes towards the opponent's goal, Jozabed ran the show.





But for me, it was this performance that really showed Jozabed's risk taking abilities.

It was at home to Las Palmas, and Jozabed created the first goal and nearly scored Rayo's second with an audacious lob from near his own half.





Notably, there are others too, like this goal - an audacious one against Villarreal in the 2015-16 season.





Jozabed, perhaps predictably, never really succeeded at Fulham, being loaned back to Celta Vigo within six months, before signing a permanent deal this summer. But taking that risk, having done something that most would be cautious to even consider...that is something missing from the modern game.

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