Skip to main content

Manucho - the lion returns. With some Baltasar Gracián thrown in (8th September, 2017)

As the rest of the supporters do, I appreciate his effort and how he tries to fight every single ball, but he is really really bad.

The club has not announced it (edit: the club announced it at 9:23 am today), but Manucho certainly has - on his Instagram. The Angolan striker is almost certainly back at Rayo, for a fourth season.

Manucho: The lion "comes back home"

This is not necessarily a bad "signing" - Javi Guerra's start to the season hasn't been great, and Raúl de Tomás, for all his qualities, doesn't seem to last 90 minutes week in week out.

It's easy to be harsh on him, but he actually played quite well last season. He scored goals to kill off games, he kept defenders busy, and he gave Rayo an option in the air. And all that as a "super-sub".

For me, there was something quite symbolic about Manucho "leaving" Rayo this summer. He left everything behind for a trail in Manchester, and he faught - quite admirably - for so long to stay in Europe...if he really did have offers from Asian countries it would have marked the end of an era had he taken them - in the worst possible way.

I thought he still had a season left in him.



His name first emerged when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him in January 2008, after a three week trial.

For less than a million euros, Alex was getting, in his words, a "tall, agile, quick forward". However, the striker who should've competed with Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tévez, and Louis Saha, ended up not even getting a work permit.

After six months on loan at Panathinaikos, getting a work permit, getting just three games in the red shirt, and a loan stint at Hull City, it was clear that Manucho didn't belong.

Real Valladolid spent 3 million euros on the player in 2009. In an unforgettable press conference, Manucho promised 40 goals that season. And while he gave a 100% of promised effort, he scored a measly 10% of promised goals - the 2010-11 season was spent on loan at Turkish top flight clubs Bucaspor and Manisaspor, and the 2011-12 season was spent largely on the sidelines watching Valladolid go back up to La Liga.

The picture above reminds me of Baltasar Gracián: “At 20 a man is a peacock, at 30 a lion, at 40 a camel, at 50 a serpent, at 60 a dog, at 70 an ape, and at 80 nothing”. And, quite eerily, Manucho's breakout season was when he was 30 years old too. It was the 2012-13 season that showed what Manucho was capable of - he scored eight goals in just 1653 minutes of game time, and was Valladolid's second top-scorer.

Ever since then, the stats haven't shown something significant. He only scored three goals when Valladolid got relegated again in 2014, and has only scored 14 goals for Rayo in three seasons. He isn't quick by any means anymore, but he brings direct play, a powerful header and a central focal point to the attack.

He fights for every ball, he leads by example, he attacks the defense at their weakest.

The lion may have aged, but he has definitely come back home.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

From Catalonia to Heybridge - the story of an eighth division club (19th October, 2017)

After spending his whole life at UDA Gramenet and a season at Europa, Guillem Ramón moved to Terrassa in the summer of 2014. It was just another Catalan player transferring between two clubs in the Catalan regional leagues - nothing extraordinary.

But it was consequential.

In March 2015, in a match against Sabadell, the full back suffered a complete meniscal rupture, and his season was over. So was his contract - and a big chunk of the 2015-16 season as well. He ended up signing for Cerdanyola, without pay (as he was recuperating), and the doctors said that January would be his return time. However, he debuted in November.

In hindsight, it was a mistake.

After two games, in a training session, on November 25th he got injured again - this time in the quadriceps in the same leg. After two months of recuperation, and still no guarantee of pay, Guillem left for new pastures in February 2016. A trial at Coplestonians FC followed; so did an opportunity at Needham Market FC, in the seventh t…

Non-league Incider: Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 East Thurrock United

When I was more young and foolish I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't visit a football stadium until I visited Vallekas. Frustrated by my inability to plan a trip, I broke that promise by watching a game in the sixth tier of English football.

This is that game. This is my story.

If I've learnt anything, it's this: never make promises to yourself. Promises to yourself are like bonds to an imaginary world - they're not attached to anything. Instead, they only serve to frustrate you, and sometimes those around you.

In 2016, I remember being outside Wembley and not going inside for a stadium tour. In 2014, I remember giving up the opportunity to watch Real Madrid play AC Milan in Dubai. For a year the stadiums of Chelsea and Fulham were on the same street as mine. For three years, every time my friend said he was going to watch Leyton Orient, every time my brother talked about his love for Arsenal, every time I looked at a map of London and saw how close I was to the …

Fuenlabrada - the mighty challengers: Part 2; aka Juan Quero - the roller-coaster (15th October, 2017)

In just a few months, Fuenlabrada have competed for promotion to the Segunda, signed a center-back from a La Liga side, and will now be playing Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.

This is part 2 of a series about Fuenlabrada, the mighty challengers to Real Madrid, who they play in the cup on the 26th of October.

You can read part 1 here.



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…