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Abel Gómez Moreno - the unforgettable face of forgettable clubs (19th January, 2018)

Yo-yo clubs are defined by their uncertainty. They go up and they go down. They remain relevant one season and are just as quick deemed irrelevant in the next.

In other words, yo-yo clubs are easily forgettable.


His face conveys the stern gaze of a man who had seen a lot - maybe too much. White streaks in his hair and his grey beard make the 35 year old look 53.


But his role as a footballer demands him to draw on every experience. Creaking legs are shielded from scrutiny once the ball lands on his feet. Always looking to control, pass, create. Always looking to win the ball intelligently. Always looking to score from dead ball situations.


He is Abel Gómez. And this is his story.


There is more to Andalusia than Seville. Abel was born in Seville but spent most of his life in Granada. As a child he started playing at Atlético Monachil, located in Monachil, Granada, and later at Granada 74. Seville's Sevilla did spot him, and he graduated from their academy, playing for their B team (Sevilla Atlético) between 2000 and 2004 - the first season being spent in the Tercera, the other three in the Segunda B.

But it was not Sevilla who gave him his professional debut, but another Andalusian association - Málaga - signing for their reserves in the second tier on a two-year contract. In the first season he played 35 games, and in the second season he clocked 33 more, scoring three and four goals respectively. He was widely expected to activate the clause in his contract to extend his stay by a further season. However, Málaga was going through a tense situation; the first team was relegated, which meant that the second team was relegated too and financially tight. All that precipitated his exit in 2006, and he signed for Real Murcia, being instrumental in their return to La Liga after a three-year absence, although an immediate relegation would befall in 2008.

One must remember that this is the story of a player who has only played for clubs in Andalusia and Murcia - the south of Spain, essentially. Oh, and Romania - in the 2008 summer he joined Romanian side Steaua Bucureşti, resigning after only four months with the team because he missed his girlfriend who had remained in Málaga. He would return to Spain's second level by joining Xerez in late January 2009, still being able to contribute with 15 games (12 starts) to the club's first-ever top flight promotion.

However, as Xerez were immediately relegated back, in late August 2010 he moved to another side in that region and tier - freshly-promoted Granada. In his debut campaign he only missed one league match in 42 (3,366 minutes of action), helping to a top division return after an absence of 35 years. And after one top-flight campaign, he returned to the second tier in 2012 and another Andalusian side - Córdoba. He would go on to captain the side and scored five goals during his second season, which ended in promotion after more than four decades.

And after another top flight campaign that once again ended the relegation, he joined Cádiz in the Segunda B, helping them to promotion during the 2015-16 campaign in his first season - however, after being seldom used in the following season, late into the 2017 January transfer window, the 35-year-old signed with Murcia-based club Lorca.

He has since helped them to promotion too - his seventh* in his career - and now plays with the club in the second division. The wider consensus is that Lorca will not survive their first ever season in the Segunda, and will be forgotten in the annals of history.

And also that Abel Gómez won't.

Abel Gómez

*Sixth as a professional

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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…