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Rayo Vallecano: the Barcelona of the humble

On Monday my colleague Javier Matallanas encouraged me to watch 'the proletariat derby' between Rayo Vallecano and Getafe (which Rayo won 3-1). To someone who was a regular visitor to Vallecas in the era of coach Felix Barderas 'Felines' (a player more similar to Iniesta than you could ever imagine, albeit from a different era), happy memories of Rayo from that time came flooding back to me, of their exciting and offensive style of play.

Now they are doing it again. With coach Paco Jémez's bold formula, Rayo are 7th in the league table, in the European places (due to Málaga's European ban), and they have got there with the lowest budget in the top flight, with a playing and coaching staff that costs just 7 million euros.

I often hear people say "Barcelona have done a lot of damage to football, because now everyone wants to play in the best way possible, and many teams are not capable of doing that". But Rayo have got themselves into 7th place by playing in the best way they can. Real Valladolid thrashing Rayo 6-1 in October was many people's proof that Paco Jémez's style of football was doomed, but the coach stuck to his philosophy and the team kept moving forward.

I am delighted that he is trying to make his team play exciting football, every team should try and do that. You'll always win some and lose some, regardless of how you play your football, so it's always better to try and play attractive football.

I also do not see the conflict between style and results. The history of football does not show us that cowardly teams have done better than attractive teams, quite the opposite.

Look at Puskas's Hungary, Di Stefano's Madrid, the many great Brazil sides, Cruyff's Ajax, Sacchi's Milan. And now Barcelona and Spain have proved you can still win by playing great football. At the other end of the scale is this Rayo Vallecano side, who, for their beautiful football alone, deserve to play at prime time rather than on the leftover slots on Monday nights, in which they have been playing so often this season. There is something exemplary about this club which President Raúl Martin Presa has managed to achieve through hard work.

Estadísticas AS.com