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Fates of previous signings, a golden era of coaches and International Rayo by Pitbull/Me (15th April, 2017)

On the 24th of June, 2014, three players were presented at the Estadio de Vallekas. A signing from Real Madrid in the first division, a signing from Mallorca in the second, and a signing from Real Jaén in the third.

As Quini, the right-back from Real Madrid, was being benched by a left-back; as Álex Moreno, the winger from Mallorca, was on loan at second division Elche, Jozabed continued to inspire the biggest success story of the 2015-16 season.

And now? Jozabed left for Fulham for four million euros, Moreno is benching the left-backs who were benching Quini, and Quini himself is back up to Ernesto Galán.

It's funny how life works out.

The missing piece in this story is that of Diego Aguirre - he, too, was signed in 2014 after having made waves at Toledo in the third division. The left-back/left-winger has been rarely used at Rayo this season, despite a successful loan stint at Leganés (2014-15). However, a dismal loan spell at Real Oviedo (2015-16), and the performances of Álex Moreno mean that him and Nacho have no place to go.

Not many Rayo fans will care much about Aguirre. But how do you say goodbye to Nacho? A player whose pace, determination and drive on the field, whose loyalty to the club, and whose qualities as a La Liga player are unquestionable? A player who happily played backup to José Manuel Casado, and then to on-loan Emiliano Insúa, who cried when Rayo went down, and who can score belters like this one against Levante?

It's unfortunate that he doesn't fit in Rayo's increasing shift to a hybrid 4-3-3/3-4-3 system. And whether or not Rayo stay up, at the end of the season the club will be saying goodbye to some loyal players.

Nacho might be one of them.

The 2000-01 Rayo squad made history. Thanks to the Fair Play draw, the club played in the UEFA Europa league and Juande Ramos' side eliminated teams (Constel·lació Esportiva, Molde, Viborg, Lokomotiv and Girondins) all the way to the quarterfinals.

Moreover, that team was the germ of a new generation of coaches, including Julen Lopetegui, the national coach.

Pablo Sanz took over Vallecano midfield for seven seasons (1997-04) and coincided with Julen as player and coach. He participated in the promotion of 1998-99 and in the relegations to the Segunda and Segunda B in 2003 and 2004. He began his managerial career at Castelldefels, moving on to Cornellà. He would then be chosen as the U-18 coach of Catalunya and Cruyff's number two with the national team (of Catalunya, that is). He would then supervise the lower league teams by being employed by the Costa Rica federation, before joining Julen's staff at Porto and now Spain.

Until the arrival of Alberto Bueno, Jon Pérez Bolo had been the top scorer of Rayo in La Liga with 25 goals in 127 games from 1999 to 2003. The forward took Arenas de Getxo from the Tercera to the Segunda B, where he has consolidated them and aspires to get into the Copa del Rey next season. Before that he was the general manager of Barakaldo.

Luis Cembranos will always be remembered as the last Rayista to play with the Spanish national team (Anero was called and Guzmán participated in the World Cup of 1978). His first steps as a coach were at Huracán Z of the Tercera from 2007 to 2009. Two years later he landed at Cultural Leonesa, who he managed to promote to the Segunda B (2012-13) and where he stayed until 2014. Already in 2015 participated in the AFE sessions and later formed a partnership with Milla, as he became his number two, at Lugo and Zaragoza - both in the Segunda.

Alcázar has making a name for himself in the Segunda B. He defended the strip for nine seasons (1993-02) and has worked at Extremadura (despite all the economic difficulties suffered), Cacereño, Sporting Villanueva, Badajoz and Merida.

And, of course, our very own Míchel.

I enjoyed writing about the 2000-01 season and so I thought it would be fun to write about the 2001-02 season, and dabble at writing a cover.

Obviously, it isn't great.

They don't play much football
But they've touched down everywhere (everywhere?) everywhere
You don't know them well
And they're not being famous everywhere everywhere
They're from countries and cities I don't wanna pronounce
And the places on the globe I didn't know existed
In Argentina, defenders like Bilardo
And hey, why isn't that Swiss guy playing, mister?
In Bosnia yeah strikers that score
And in France, Portugal and Brazil players that can pass
Been all around the world
But to be honest there's nothing like being from Vallecas

Oh my god so many references to players, I might drown.
Although by now on these verses you might frown.
I'm outta control, back to the goal
Of making crap rap worse so down you can scroll
I'm gonna stop before I explode your brain
So here are all the players not from Spain:

Argentina - Patricio Graff. Left back. Starter, played 32 games. Picked up 14 yellow cards and one red. Played the most minutes (2977, even more than Míchel who played 2931. In the league only, Míchel played 2871, Graff 2797).
Switzerland - Luis Cembranos. Born in Lucerne, Cembranos was the son of Spanish immigrants in Switzerland, and returned to his country in his teens, moving to Catalonia. Didn't play due to injuries.
Bosnia - Elvir Bolić, Elvir Baljić, Emir Granov. Bolić, a striker, was top scorer with 11 goals. Baljić, a left winger, scored 1. Granov, a striker, played just nine minutes. Bolić was subbed off a record 17 times. He is still the most expensive player at Rayo, at 2 million euros.
France - Center-back Jean François Hernández. Veteran central midfielder Éric Serge Roy. Striker 
Bruno Rodríguez. None were starters. Jean is the father of Lucas and Theo, currently at Atlético de Madrid. He retired at the end of the season. Roy was signed at the start of the season - at the age of 33. Bruno played 39 minutes.
Portugal - Hélder. Midfielder.
Brazil - Glaucio de Jesús. Attacking midfielder. Was subbed onto the pitch a record 24 times.


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