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When Rayo destroyed the career of a Israeli footballer #clickbait (27th October, 2017)

You might be wondering why there is a #clickbait in the title.

Well, titles are supposed to intrigue but not mislead, and sometimes it is hard to know where the line lies. I don't know where that line is - what I do know is that I'm definitely not far from it today....

His name is Rayo. Rubén Rayos, to be exact. He is an attacking midfielder who can play on the wing, with a left* foot capable of powerful shots, creating chances, scoring free-kicks and penalties, dribbling past players with ease, and even crossing.

What he is not is particularly quick, or defensively astute.

Rafi Dahan found out in March 2014. Rayo was playing for Maccabi Haifa, and Dahan was playing for Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv.

As Rayo slid in and took Rafi out, both his soles crashing into Rafi's right leg, the brutality of the tackle was clear.

An infamous image - Rubén Rayos sliding into Rafi Dahan

Rayo knew what he had done was wrong. He didn't protest the red card - the first ever in his career. The player who, in the season before, was Asteras Tripoli's captain and had won the Greek's league Best Foreign Player award, hung his head in shame and walked off.

"I hope someday [Dahan] will forgive me", Rayo said. He was deeply affected by what happened. But feelings don't heal physical injuries, and Dahan's subsequent dejection was understandable.

Forced to postpone his wedding as a result of the injury, he said: "It was criminal. He tried to end my career. I'll never forgive him for what he did".

He didn't try - he succeeded. The tackle caused an ACL injury. And after spending the next 12 months in recovery, Dahan was informed by his medical staff that his injury would not fully heal, forcing him to retire at the age of 25.



The life of Rubén Rayos

Born in Elche in 1986, Rayo played for San Isidro (1994-99) and the Valencian side (1999-05) in his youth career, graduating with the latter and playing for Elche Ilicitano (the B team) in the Tercera in the 2005-06 season.

He would go on to play on loan at Villajoyosa from 2006-08, sign permanently for Barcelona B and played for them for the 2008-09 season, play for Orihuela in the 2009-10 campaign and for Lleida in the 2010-11 season - all in the Segunda B. For the last club, he scored 19 goals in 33 league games and was the top scorer in group 3 of the Segunda B.

In the summer of 2011, he joined the Spanish contingent at Asteras Tripoli in Greece, playing for two seasons there while scoring nine goals and assisting 12 more. He went on to play two seasons at Maccabi Haifa who signed him** for 800,000 euros, another season at Sochaux in France, and is currently playing in Cyprus at Anorthosis Famagusta, where he is the vice-captain.

Spanish players moving to Greece and Cyprus is actually quite commonplace, even clichéd. But Rayo's career will always be marked for when the world saw a tackle and cringed.

It was, perhaps, a split-second mistake. But it was, definitely, a career-changing moment for two very different players.



*Perhaps it is his only foot - this is either a moment of genius or a desire to never use the right foot. Or both.




**Apparently, Rayo Vallecano tried hijacking this deal. While there were reports that the Maccabi deal was all but sealed, there were also reports that Rayo were trying to sign him until the deal was officially announced.

I'd like to think there was a possibility, however slim, of someone at Rayo saying they wanted to sign Rayo.

Rayo wanted to sign...Rayo? Source: mercafichajes.es

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