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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-choice throughout six seasons (nearly 300 official appearances for the Colchoneros). However, at the end of 1987–88, mainly due to serious personal problems with elusive club chairman Jesús Gil, he chose to retire at the age of 33.

Jesús Landáburu, at Rayo



Born in Asteasu, Gipuzkoa, Julen Lopetegui started his professional career at local Real Sociedad, where he was barred by legendary Luis Arconada. In 1985, he accepted an offer from Real Madrid, who immediately incorporated the 19-year-old to its B-team.

After a loan spell at Las Palmas (1988-89), Lopetegui returned, but could never dislodge another veteran, Francisco Buyo, only managing one La Liga appearance during two seasons, a 3-3 away draw against Atlético Madrid as Real was already crowned league champions. He subsequently signed with CD Logroñés, being instrumental as the modest Riojan club consistently managed to retain its top flight status.

Lopetegui's stellar performances at Logroñés earned him his sole cap with Spain, coming on as a substitute for Andoni Zubizarreta for the final 30 minutes of a 0-2 friendly loss with Croatia in Valencia, in March 1994. He was subsequently picked for the squad at that year's FIFA World Cup.

As Zubizarreta left for Valencia, Lopetegui joined FC Barcelona, battling - and losing - for first-choice status with longtime understudy Carles Busquets. After the Catalans bought Porto's Vítor Baía he was further demoted to third-string, and returned to Madrid with Rayo Vallecano, being a starter in two of his five seasons (although he still managed 36 league appearances from 1999 to 2002, with Rayo always in the top division, as he retired subsequently).

After five seasons at Rayo, Julen retired in 2002 and became one of Spain coach Juan Santisteban's assistants at the UEFA European Under-17 Championship. After the tournament, he was appointed Rayo's coach, but was sacked after 10 matches during a tumultuous 2003-04 Segunda campaign which led to Rayo's second relegation in two years (about which I've written before, read it here). He would leave managing for a while to work as a commentator, but then in 2008 he took over at Real Madrid B for a season.

From 2010 to 2014, Lopetegui worked with the Spanish youth teams, winning the 2012 European Under-19 Championship and the 2013 Under-21 Championship. He left the Royal Spanish Football Federation on 30 April 2014, following the expiration of his contract.

He would then take over at Porto, where he guided them to the quarters of the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League, but lack of silverware meant that he was fired on 8th January, 2016.

Since July 2016, he has been coaching the Spanish national football team.

Julen Lopetegui, at Rayo

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