With the Dons’ pre-season fixtures underway, mkdons.com takes an in focus look at the side that will visit stadiummk in little over two weeks time.
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On Wednesday 24th July, La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano will arrive in Milton Keynes to take on Karl Robinson’s side in a mouth-watering pre-season encounter. The Madrid-based Vallecanos finished eighth in Spain’s top division in 2012/13, their highest ever League finish, and they will provide the Dons with an exciting challenge ahead of the new Football League campaign.
Paco – Francisco Jemez Martin, commonly known as Paco, is a former Spanish international who took charge of the Vallecanos in 2012.
During his playing career, Paco featured for Cordoba CF, Real Murcia, Rayo Vallecano, Deportivo La Coruna and most notably Real Zaragoza, where he made a total of 168 appearances. The 5ft 11in ex-centre-back won three Spanish Cups and one Spanish Super Cup during his playing days.
Following his retirement in 2007, Paco took up coaching, first with lowly side RSD Alcala and then with his former side Cordoba CF. In early 2009, Paco moved to then-Segunda B side Cartagena, guiding them to their first promotion before leaving the following July to take charge at UD Las Palmas. Paco was appointed Rayo Vallecano manager last season, leading the Vallecanos to their highest ever League finish.
Key and notable players:
Roberto Trashorras – A former Barcelona youth player, midfielder Trashorras made just one appearance for the Catalan giants before joining Real Madrid B in 2003.
Since spending two years in Madrid, Trashorras has played for Numancia, Las Palmas and Celta, whom he featured over 100 times for. The centre midfielder signed for Rayo Vallecano in 2011.
Last season Trashorras made 35 appearances, more than any over Vallecanos player, contributing one goal and four assists.
Andrija Delibasic – Montenegrin international Delibasic signed for Rayo Vallecano in 2010 having netted 20 goals in 61 games for Hercules.
The 6ft 2in striker began his career with Serbian outfit Partizan in 1999 and his goal scoring exploits earned him a move to Spain, where he linked up with Mallorca. Delibasic, however, failed to establish himself in the Mallorca side and enjoyed several loan spells away from the club before joining Hercules.
Delibasic, 32, is now entering his fourth season with the Vallecanos and currently has 91 goals to his name from only 83 appearances.
David Cobeno – Currently Rayo Vallecano’s longest serving player, Cobeno has made over 120 appearances for the Club in five years.
The Spanish goalkeeper spent time with Real Madrid B early on in his career, before he joined Sevilla in 2006. In his first season with Los Rojiblancos, Cobeno helped them win both the UEFA and Spanish Cup.
Cobeno is one of very few goalkeepers to have a goal to his name, after he lobbed his opposition number with a drop-kick in a 2-1 defeat to Elche CF back in 2009.
Stadium: Campo de Futbol de Vallecas (capacity 14,708)
Kit: White shirt, white shorts, white socks
Rayo Vallecano, formed in 1924, are based in the Spanish capital of Madrid and are often referred to as the third best team in the City, behind giants Real and Atletico.
The Vallecanos spent the early part of their history yo-yoing between the bottom two tiers of Spanish football before reaching La Liga for the first time in 1977. Spending three seasons at the top, Rayo returned to lower divisions in the early 80’s and didn’t return until 1989.
Rayo Vallecano arguably enjoyed their most successful season in 1999, when they reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals as well as finishing ninth in La Liga – their highest ever League finish until last season.
After suffering another relegation a few years later, Vallecano appointed Spanish legend Michel as manager and he helped guide them back to the top tier, where they have been for the last two seasons. In total, Rayo Vallecano have spent 15 seasons in La Liga.
Rayo Vallecano finished a super 2012/13 La Liga campaign in eighth place, their highest ever League finish.
Ending the previous campaign in 15th, the Vallecanos appointed former Spanish international Paco as manager and they started the season reasonably well before hitting a bad run of form in September. Returning to winning ways the next month, Rayo established themselves in the top half of La Liga with a near-perfect January – a month where they won five of their six games, beating giants Valencia in the process.
Striker Piti was key part of the Vallecanos success with the experienced front man netting his way into the League’s top ten goalscorers. Piti finished the season with 18 goals, ahead of players such as Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema.
Despite finishing outside the Europa League qualifying places, Rayo were offered hope of playing in the Europe next season due to Malaga’s financial issues. However, the club's own money troubles saw their bid to replace them rejected although Rayo have since confirmed they’ll take their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport
For the second year in a row, Rayo Vallecano lost their leading goalscorer to another Club following Piti’s move to Granada (At the end of 2011/12, striker Michu left Madrid to join Swansea City).
The Vallecanos have lost several other key players in the last two months, most notably 20-year-old striker Leo Baptistao to Atletico Madrid and midfielder Javi Fuego to Valencia. Baptistao scored seven goals for the Vallecanos last season while Fuego made 36 appearances in the heart of the midfield.
Rayo have made one signing this summer, bringing in Espanyol’s defender Raul Baena, and they are are expected to capture midfielder Javi Hervas from Sevilla in the coming days.