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Showing posts from November, 2017

The Spanish quartet in Puerto Rico - Mario Martínez (30th November, 2017)

That's right - there are four Spaniards playing at Puerto Rico Football Club, a franchise that resides in the second division (NASL). And one of them is Yuma, the former Rayo youth graduate and cousin of Antonio Amaya and Iván Amaya.

But what about the other three?

The American dream is all about doing better than your parents. Chus Martínez, a defender, never even made it to professional football - the high point of his career was playing for Numancia in the Segunda B between 1989-93.
In contrast, midfielder Mario Martínez made his professional debut at the age of 18. Also a product of hometown Numancia's youth system Mario first appeared with its first team during the 2002-03 season in the Segunda. It took him several seasons, including two loan spells to Segunda B sides Las Palmas in 2006 and Zamora in 2007, until he finally broke into the first team. Under Gonzalo Arconada, He would go on to play 34 times scoring three goals in the 2007-08 season as the Soria side returned …

From Levante to Guizhou, the first Spaniards to play in China: Part 3 - Rubén Suárez (29th November, 2017)

In 2012, a defender, a midfielder and a striker, all playing for Levante, made the bold leap to a country no Spaniard had ever been before.

In late January, 2012, center-back Nano Rivas was sold to Guizhou Renhe. Two months later, in March, striker Rafael Jordà was on his way. And three months later still, in June, diminutive midfielder Rubén Suárez was on his way....

You can read part 1, featuring Nano Rivas, here. And part 2, featuring Rafael Jordà, here.



His father was a legend. Secundino Suárez, aka Cundi, was a Sporting Gijón legend and spent his professional career almost entirely with his local team, save for a one-year loan spell with Poblense (1976-77) due to compulsory military service.

From the age of 20 onwards, he was an undisputed starter for the La Liga club, appearing in nearly 400 competitive games during his 15-year spell (1975-90). And yet, the left-back did not receive one single red card during his career.

He too started out in Sporting Gijón's famed youth acad…

La perspectiva de Burgos - with @SomosBurgosCF (28th November, 2017)

You can follow @SomosBurgosCF on Twitter.

A bit about yourself and your background

I was born in Burgos, but I'm not living there now - I'm studying at secondary school now.

How long have you been a fan of Burgos and what made you support them in the first place?

I've been fan of Burgos since I was 11 years old. I support the club because it's the team of my city and because I like to watch to football matches inside the stadium, not in front of the TV.

Describe your first experience of watching Burgos play?

It was a match in Segunda B, years ago, Immediately I fell in love with the stadium and the matches atmosphere.

To an outsider - how would you describe Burgos' playing style, what it means to be a fan of the club, and what it means to be a player of the club?

Our playing style is what I like to call "de garra" (of talons) - where we fight for every ball.

Being a fan of Burgos means going to see your team at El Plantío every Sunday, whether we win or lose,…

From Levante to Guizhou, the first Spaniards to play in China: Part 2 - Rafael Jordà (27th November, 2017)

In 2012, a defender, a midfielder and a striker, all playing for Levante, made the bold leap to a country no Spaniard had ever been before.

In late January, 2012, center-back Nano Rivas was sold to Guizhou Renhe. Two months later, in March, striker Rafael Jordà was on his way. And three months later still, in June, diminutive midfielder Rubén Suárez was on his way....

You can read part 1, featuring Nano Rivas, here.


Rafael Jordà was born in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, Catalonia, and started his youth career at Damm. In 2001, at the age of 17, he moved to Valencia, and a year later to Numancia, where he graduated and made his senior debut with the B team. He was loaned to Segunda B side CM Peralta in the first half of the 2004-05 season, and to Benidorm, also in the Segunda B, in the second half of the 2005-06 season. Jordà would stay with Numancia until 2008 - in his last season, he contributed with six goals in 27 matches as the club returned to the top flight as champions.

In June 2008,…

From Levante to Guizhou, the first Spaniards to play in China: Part 1 - Nano Rivas (26th November, 2017)

In 2012, a defender, a midfielder and a striker, all playing for Levante, made the bold leap to a country no Spaniard had ever been before.

In late January, 2012, center-back Nano Rivas was sold to Guizhou Renhe. Two months later, in March, striker Rafael Jordà was on his way. And three months later still, in June, diminutive midfielder Rubén Suárez was on his way....



Nano Rivas was born in Ciudad Real, and started his youth career at local Manchengo. He was quickly snapped up by Atlético Madrid, and made his professional debut with their B team between 2000-02. In 2002-03 he was loaned to Getafe in the second level, before moving to the club on a permanent deal in the summer of 2003; an undisputed starter with the Madrid outskirts team, he scored four goals in 37 games in the 2004-05 campaign, their first ever in La Liga.

Nano was signed by Real Betis in 2005. He was set to have a promising season before being injured in the Champions League group stage match against Chelsea in Novemb…

From Udinese to Granada (and Cádiz?) - the legal rathole: Part 4 (25th November, 2017)

This is a continuation of part 3, where we looked at players who moved from Granada to Cádiz in the 2011-12 season.

Other examples involving non-Spanish players should not be ignored either - there's Scottish midfielder Ikechi Anya who was born in Glasgow and moved to Oxford when he was seven years old. Anya joined the Wycombe Wanderers youth team in the 2003-04 season at the age of 15, having been released by Oxford United, where his performances earned him a debut at the age of 16 in September 2004, becoming the club's youngest ever player.

He was released in the summer of 2007 and signed for Oxford City, before being snapped up in January 2008 by Halesowen Town. In the summer of 2008 he joined the Glenn Hoddle Academy for two years and in February 2009 signed for League One side Northampton Town. Northampton manager Stuart Gray was keen to re-sign Anya on a long-term deal at the end of the season, but in July 2009, he joined Sevilla Atlético, the reserve side of Sevilla, on…

From Udinese to Granada (and Cádiz?) - the legal rathole: Part 3 (24th November, 2017)

In the last two parts we looked at players who, in the 2009-10 season, moved from Udinese to Granada. And there are many, many players who have since moved to Granada.

But we will look at that in another part. For today, we will look at players who moved from Granada to Cádiz in the 2011-12 season.

In the summer of 2011, an agreement was reached with Quique Pina, president of Granada, for the sport management of the club, as well as a possible sale of the club at the end of the campaign in 2012, subject to if Cádiz ascended to the Segunda or if it declared bankruptcy.

Despite not getting promoted, Pina remained interested in the club, and asked Antonio Muñoz to give him his duties for a year to be able to fully manage the club, to try again to get promoted. But Muñoz finally rejected the proposal and on July 12, 2012 sold his shares for 400,000 euros to a group of Italo-Swiss foreign investors. Florentino Manzano was appointed as the new president, Alessandro Gaucci as sports director,…

La perspectiva de Girona - with Adam Selby (23rd November, 2017)

Adam Selby owns @GironaUK, a Twitter page dedicated to, you guessed it, Girona. Do follow the page, and while you're at it, Adam himself - @ASelbyInfo.

A bit about yourself and your background

As a page, @GironaUK are a fairly new, incredibly fresh and extremely enthusiastic page that was established shortly after the end of the 2016/17 season. Whilst our priority is to of course document Girona’s rise and performance in La Liga this season, for us a greater priority is to help provide exposure to an ever growing English speaking audience with an interest in Spanish football. As one of the most interesting stories given Girona’s rise to prominence in recent months, we recognized the potential of helping give Girona a much greater digital footprint in the English language and as currently the only English language account for Girona across the internet (at least to our understanding) at this time of writing, we are incredibly proud to represent the club from a supporter’s perspectiv…

From Udinese to Granada - the legal rathole: Part 2 (22nd November, 2017)

Continuing from part 1 yesterday, which you can read here...

But perhaps the most controversial signing in my opinion was not of one who clocked many appearances but who scored many goals, and that is the signing of 2008-09 Segunda B's top scorer Tariq Spezie. Tariq's story is genuinely unique - he was born in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates to an Italian father and a Spanish mother. As the political situation in the region worsened, eventually leading to the Iran-Iraq War, the family relocated to Italy with their one-year infant, and later to Spain. Tariq played youth football in modest clubs in Catalonia, such as Racing Blanenc and Vilobí, making his senior debut with Real Valladolid B at the age of 19 and competing the 1999-00 season in the Segunda B and the next one in the Tercera with the club, scoring a combined 22 goals. He would play for another reserve team in the 2001-02 campaign, as he helped Espanyol B finish second in the Segunda B.

Tariq spent the following eight-a…

From Udinese to Granada - the legal rathole: Part 1 (21st November, 2017)

Who doesn't like ranting on Granada? I enjoy it. A lot.

But this story is not about Granada. It is about a story, a sad one at that - how a club avoided disappearance by becoming subservient to a foreign club.

This is part 1 in a multi-part series. Part 2 comes out tomorrow.

Hopefully.



If you look at it from Granada's perspective, Gino Pozzo was a ray of light at the end of a dark tunnel.

In 2002-03, Granada depended on itself to get promoted to the Segunda B, but an unfortunate own goal by Juanjo against Quintanar del Rey at home tore the dream to shreds. The following season was excellent, but in the play-offs, a theoretically inferior rival - La Roda - would eliminate them. In that year, players were forced to lock themselves in the stadium as a protest for not receiving their wages.

In 2006, the team was promoted from the fourth level. And good thing that happened, since at the time Granada was in the worst sporting and economic position in its history. Lorenzo Sanz arrive…

The Rayo Report: Rayo Vallecano 1-0 Barcelona B - Beating Barcelona B by battling back (20th November, 2017)

Míchel made two changes to the side that lost 3-2 at Zaragoza - Raúl de Tomás was replaced by Diego Aguirre in attack, and Abdoulaye Ba was replaced by José Antonio Dorado in defense. Gerard López also made a couple of changes to the side that lost 2-0 against Huesca - Jorge Cuenca was replaced by José Antonio Martínez in defense, Vitinho Carvalho was replaced by Ferrán Sarsanedas in midfield and Marc Cardona was replaced by Abel Ruiz in attack.

Barcelona B more or less dominated possession in their own half but struggled to create chances in the final third. In contrast, Rayo Vallecano were quick in their play during transitions, switching the ball from one end of the field to another with deadly one-touch passing. However, Rayo struggled to get past a resilient Barcelona B defense.

If there is a TL;DR for this game, it is this: in the end, Rayo brought on a striker, and within two minutes Barcelona B's defense let out a little bit of space, and Rayo scored.

Initial team setups

R…

Rayo Vallecano and Barcelona, the 20th century exchanges - Jesús Landáburu and Julen Lopetegui (19th November, 2017)

Ahead of Barcelona B's visit to Rayo, it made sense to talk about the players who went from Rayo to Barcelona and from Barcelona to Rayo.

This, part 1, talks about one of each.

Hopefully there is a part 2...

Jesús Landáburu was born in Guardo, Province of Palencia. He made his professional debuts at only 17 with Real Valladolid, quickly making an impression with the Segunda División side, his skills, field vision and set piece ability standing out alike.

Landáburu made his La Liga debuts with Madrid-based Rayo Vallecano in the 1977–78 campaign: he majorly contributed to the modest team's maintenance of its top flight status during two seasons, after which he signed with league powerhouse FC Barcelona.

Landáburu won his first piece of silverware with the Catalans in 1981, the Copa del Rey. However, after two good seasons, he struggled immensely in his last as Barça hired a new coach, German Udo Lattek.

Landáburu moved subsequently to Atlético Madrid, being an automatic first-choi…

Ilie Sánchez and Cristian Lobato - The Kansas Contingent from Barcelona (18th November, 2017)

What is it about Spaniards plying their trade abroad that excites me?

Is it the sense of adventure? Is it the story of a risk taken? Or is it that, on players who venture outside Spain, there is simply more material available to write about?

Whatever it is, one thing is clear - Barcelona have way too much talent. And most of it ends up on the sidelines...

Ilie Sánchez

He played for Martinenc FC between 1996-98, for Barcelona between 1998-00, C.E. APA Poble Sec between 2000-01, UB Catalónia between 2001-03, Collblanc between 2003-05 (the last three clubs being part of the Agrupació de Penyas del Barça), Cornellà between 2005-07 and Barcelona again between 2007-09 - and that's just his youth career!
Ilie Sánchez was born in Barcelona, and represented several Catalan clubs as a youth, including FC Barcelona from ages 7-9. He would return to La Masia in 2007, and make his Barcelona B debut with in the 2009-10 season in the Segunda B. He played 22 times that season, scoring once and helpi…

The story of a Dutch duo transferring to relegated Rayo - Dave van den Bergh and Robert Gehring (17th November, 2017)

Transfers are always fun.

While digging around former Rayo players, I found that someone had transferred from Rayo Vallecano to Rayo Majadahonda - the other Rayo.

What I uncovered was a fascinating story - the story of two Dutch friends who came together and left in very different ways...

Robert Gehring started his youth career in AFC, and finished it at Ajax; he made his debut in the first team in the second match for the 1995 UEFA Super Cup against Real Zaragoza - a competition Ajax subsequently won - but largely spent his time in the reserves. In the 1996-97 season, he got seriously injured, which stagnated his development.


In 1997 his friend and teammate Dave van den Bergh made the switch to Spanish side Rayo Vallecano. Dave recommended Gehring to the club, and Gehring was invited to a trail - despite the fact that his ACL injury had ruled him out for a year. In the trial, Gehring made such an impression that he was offered a contract.

Before Van den Bergh and Gehring joined the t…