Skip to main content

The A-Z guide to Rayo Vallecano (Addition edition): K is for Kazan. Rubin Kazan (25th December, 2017)

It was the 2011-12 winter transfer window, and turmoil in Rayo's finances meant creativity. They had loaned Jordi Figueras for the whole season but Club Brugge wanted to buy him outright from Rubin - and so Rayo stalled his loan return till the end of the window so that he could play an extra four games. He eventually left after two, though.

This story always makes me laugh - not just because Jordi Figueras is a fine central defender, but because Rayo were essentially acting like a hoarder.

That is not to say that it wasn't without reason: in that same transfer window they brought in Joel, Diego Costa, Emiliano Armenteros and Jorge Pulido on loan - players whose wages were paid for by the clubs that owned them. And finances were so grim that at one point when Rayo traveled to play Real Sociedad they went by bus, and it took much longer than the usual five hours because the driver had been told to stay off toll roads. In fact, when right midfielder Néstor Susaeta and striker Koke left for Switzerland and Azerbaijan respectively for free, Rayo actually made money because the players had effectively waived any unpaid wages.

But there is something quite viscerally funny, and yet deeply saddening, about the state of affairs when clubs are essentially begging for players to stay.



Jordi Figueras is one of the rare few players who has spent two different loan spells at the club.

Born in Lleida, Catalonia, he would play for the local youth team and, in his juvenil days, achieved a promotion to the División de Honor. Jordi had an unsuccessful short spell at Real Madrid where he arrived at age 18 from Lleida in 2005, only playing for the C-side. He then moved to Celta de Vigo in the summer of 2008, initially being assigned to the reserves.

In the 2009-10 season, Jordi was firmly established in Celta's starting eleven, with the Galicians in the second division. However, in February 2010, he was sold to Russia's Rubin Kazan for €850,000, joining compatriot César Navas.

Jordi returned to his country in 2010-11, being loaned to Real Valladolid in the second level and appearing regularly during the campaign. In the 2011 summer, in the same predicament, he joined Rayo Vallecano in La Liga, in a season-long move. He played the full 90 minutes in all the games in the first part of the season but, on the 19th of January 2012, moved teams and countries again, signing for Club Brugge in the Belgian Pro League for four-and-a-half years after successfully passing his medical - this enraged José Ramón Sandoval, who lamented the loss of a "pillar" and was angry at the board of directors.

Jordi Figueras taking on Lionel Messi


Jordi returned to Spain in January 2013, serving a small loan with Rayo and subsequently joining Pepe Mel's Real Betis on a permanent basis for a €300,000 fee. He scored once from 25 matches in his debut campaign with the latter, which ended in top division relegation, then started in all his 39 appearances the following year, in an immediate promotion as champions.

He would leave Real Betis in January 2016, joining Turkish Süper Lig side Eskişehirspor, and has been globetrotting every since. In July of the same year, he agreed to a two-year contract with German club Karlsruher, but switched to the Indian Super League in September 2017, signing for ATK.

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…