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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.

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