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Rayo Vallecano
Rayo Vallecano logo.png
Full name Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, SAD
Nickname(s) Los Franjirrojos (The Red Sashes)
Los Vallecanos (The Vallecans)
Founded 29 May 1924; 99 years ago (1924-05-29)
Ground Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas
Ground Capacity 14,708
Owner Raúl Martín Presa
President Raúl Martín Presa
Head coach Andoni Iraola
League La Liga
2021–22 La Liga, 12th of 20
Third colours

Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, S.A.D. (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈraʝo βaʎeˈkano ðe maˈðɾið]), often abbreviated to Rayo (Spanish for "thunderbolt"), is a Spanish professional football club based in Madrid, in the neighbourhood of Vallecas. Rayo was founded on 29 May 1924, and currently compete in La Liga following promotion from the 2020–21 Segunda División. Home games are held at the 14,708-seater Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas stadium.

Rayo has competed in one European competition, the UEFA Cup in the 2000–01 season. The club made it to the quarter-finals before losing to fellow Spanish club Alavés 4–2 on aggregate.

By historical standard, Rayo is the third best club in Community of Madrid, after Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.


Establishment and early years

Rayo Vallecano was founded on 29 May 1924 in the hometown of Prudencia Priego, wife of the club's first president Julián Huerta. Greatly inspired by River Plate (a Football club from Argentina), in 1949, after an agreement with Atlético Madrid, a red diagonal stripe was added to the team's kit, and the club reached Tercera División for the first time in its history.

Yo-yo years

One of the perennial yo-yo clubs of Spanish football, and always in the shadow of the two biggest clubs in the city (Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid), Rayo Vallecano spent many years during the 1980s and 1990s moving back and forth between La Liga and Segunda División. The 1983-84 season was the worst during the 1980s. The club finished in the last position in Segunda División and was relegated to Segunda División B.

Due to a tragedy Rayo Vallecano turned out to be Laurie Cunningham's last club; he was killed in a car crash just outside Madrid in 1989, after a sole season. He had recently won an F.A. Cup winners medal with Wimbledon F.C. in England the previous year and had also represented neighbours Real Madrid for four years.

They appeared to have consolidated their top flight status after gaining promotion in 1999, and the team's most successful season came in 2000–01 when they reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, going out only to eventual runners-up Alavés; Rayo finished ninth in the previous campaign, but entered the competition via the fair play draw.

2003–11: Segunda División and below

Deportivo de La Coruña vs. Rayo Vallecano.

However, the club shortly thereafter fell on hard times, enduring successive relegations in 2003 and 2004. For 2005–06 manager Míchel, a Real Madrid legend in the 1980s and '90s, was hired.

Rayo finished the 2006–07 season in second place in Segunda División B, winning the promotion play-off semifinal but losing in the final to Eibar (1–2 aggregate). The following campaign, the team returned to division two after a four-year absence after a victorious run in the playoffs, disposing of Benidorm in the semi-final and Zamora in the last game 2–1 on aggregate.

In its first seasons back in the second tier of Spanish football, Rayo finished comfortably, often either in or just outside the promotion places. In 2010–11, the team ranked in second position and returned to the top flight after an eight-year absence, only trailing champions Real Betis in spite of very serious economic problems.

2011–: La Liga and Segunda División yo-yo

Diego Costa 2012 Rayo Vallecano
Diego Costa with Rayo Vallecano in 2012.

In March 2014, Huawei agreed to sponsor Rayo Vallecano for two league matches against Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.

In August 2015, Rayo Vallecano purchased the majority of Oklahoma City FC, a NASL expansion franchise which had yet to officially play a game renaming the club to Rayo OKC, despite the stadium increasingly needing work. It was the first ever entry of a Spanish club into the American sports market and mirrored a 2013 sponsorship agreement with Qbao in terms of expanding the club's profile overseas. Rayo OKC folded after a year due to Rayo Vallecano's relegation from La Liga and a dispute between the co-owners led to less finance for the U.S. side.

In May 2016, Rayo Vallecano were relegated to the Segunda División, finishing 18th in the 2015–16 La Liga season. This ended their five-year streak in La Liga, their longest ever stay in the top-flight. Their first season back in the second division was a poor one, with both problems on the field and off, and they finished in 12th position. Rayo went through three different managers in the 2016–17 Segunda División season before finally settling on club legend Míchel. He revived the club from the relegation places to 12th, almost making the playoffs.

At the start of the 2017–18 Segunda División season, the club appointed their recently retired goalkeeper David Cobeño as the sporting director of the club. They secured their promotion with a 1-0 over CD Lugo with one game remaining. That season the club won Segunda División with 76 points in 42 games.

Real Valladolid - Rayo Vallecano 2019-01-05 20
Rayo players during an away La Liga fixture versus Real Valladolid in January 2019

On 20 March 2019, the club appointed Paco Jémez as head coach, and on 4 May, Rayo was relegated back to the Segunda División after losing 4–1 to Levante UD, eventually finishing last

In August 2020, the club appointed Andoni Iraola as head coach. They finished sixth and won promotion in the playoffs against Girona FC; despite losing the first leg at home 1–2, the team came back to win the second leg 2-0 away to claim a place in La Liga for 2021–22. In February 2022, Iraola's side defeated RCD Mallorca to make the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey; it was the second time in club history and first since 1982.

Club background

Bandera Rayo
Flag with the club's crest at Ciudad Deportiva Rayo Vallecano.
  • Agrupación Deportiva El Rayo (29 May 1924 – 13 November 1947)
  • Agrupación Deportiva Rayo Vallecano (13 November 1947 – 1995)
  • Rayo Vallecano de Madrid (1995 – Present)

N.B. Affiliate of Club Atlético de Madrid in 1949–50



Regional Titles

  • Workers Federation of Soccer (1): 1931-1932
  • First Regional Division (1): 1948-1949
  • Second Regional Division (1): 1940-1941
  • Copa de Castilla (5): 1952-1953, 1967-1968, 1970-1971, 1972-1973, 1981-1982
  • Madrid Cup (2): 1952-1953, 1966-1967
  • Copa Ramón Triana (2): 1971-1972, 1973-1974

Season to season

Season Tier Division Place Copa del Rey
1940–41 5 2ª Reg. 2nd
1941–42 4 1ª Reg. 4th
1942–43 4 1ª Reg. 3rd
1943–44 4 1ª Reg. 7th
1944–45 5 2ª Reg. 2nd
1945–46 4 1ª Reg. 5th
1946–47 4 1ª Reg. 10th
1947–48 4 1ª Reg. 6th
1948–49 4 1ª Reg. 3rd
1949–50 3 14th
1950–51 3 13th
1951–52 3 9th
1952–53 3 7th
1953–54 3 17th
1954–55 3 2nd
1955–56 3 1st
1956–57 2 12th
1957–58 2 6th
1958–59 2 14th First round
1959–60 2 5th First round
Season Tier Division Place Copa del Rey
1960–61 2 16th First round
1961–62 3 3rd
1962–63 3 2nd
1963–64 3 3rd
1964–65 3 1st
1965–66 2 9th First round
1966–67 2 6th First round
1967–68 2 4th Round of 32
1968–69 2 9th
1969–70 2 6th Round of 32
1970–71 2 5th Round of 32
1971–72 2 8th Fourth round
1972–73 2 11th Third round
1973–74 2 14th Round of 16
1974–75 2 8th Fourth round
1975–76 2 9th Second round
1976–77 2 3rd Third round
1977–78 1 10th Third round
1978–79 1 15th Round of 16
1979–80 1 16th Quarter-finals
Season Tier Division Place Copa del Rey
1980–81 2 5th Quarter-finals
1981–82 2 7th Semi-finals
1982–83 2 9th Round of 16
1983–84 2 20th Third round
1984–85 3 2ª B 1st Third round
1985–86 2 15th Fourth round
1986–87 2 5th First round
1987–88 2 5th Round of 32
1988–89 2 2nd First round
1989–90 1 20th Second round
1990–91 2 11th Fifth round
1991–92 2 2nd Fourth round
1992–93 1 14th Fourth round
1993–94 1 17th Fourth round
1994–95 2 2nd Quarter-finals
1995–96 1 19th Third round
1996–97 1 18th Quarter-finals
1997–98 2 8th Second round
1998–99 2 5th First round
1999–2000 1 9th Quarter-finals
Season Tier Division Place Copa del Rey
2000–01 1 14th Round of 16
2001–02 1 11th Quarter-finals
2002–03 1 20th Round of 64
2003–04 2 21st Round of 64
2004–05 3 2ª B 3rd Round of 64
2005–06 3 2ª B 5th Third round
2006–07 3 2ª B 2nd Round of 16
2007–08 3 2ª B 1st Third round
2008–09 2 5th Round of 32
2009–10 2 11th Round of 16
2010–11 2 2nd Third round
2011–12 1 15th Round of 32
2012–13 1 8th Round of 32
2013–14 1 12th Round of 16
2014–15 1 11th Round of 32
2015–16 1 18th Round of 16
2016–17 2 12th Third round
2017–18 2 1st Second round
2018–19 1 20th Round of 32
2019–20 2 7th Round of 16
Season Tier Division Place Copa del Rey
2020–21 2 6th Round of 16
2021–22 1 12th Semi-finals
2022–23 1

European history

Season Round Club Home Away Aggregate
2000–01 UEFA Cup Qualifying round Andorra Constel·lació Esportiva 6–0 10–0 16–0
First round Norway Molde 1–1 1–0 2–1
Second round Denmark Viborg 1–0 1–2 2–2 (a)
Third round Russia Lokomotiv Moscow 2–0 0–0 2–0
Fourth round France Bordeaux 4–1 2–1 6–2
Quarter-finals Spain Alavés 2–1 0–3 2–4

Current squad

No. Position Player
1 North Macedonia GK Stole Dimitrievski
2 Spain DF Mario Hernández
3 Spain DF Fran García
4 Spain MF Mario Suárez (3rd captain)
5 Spain DF Alejandro Catena
6 Spain MF Santi Comesaña (vice-captain)
7 Spain FW Isi Palazón
8 Argentina FW Óscar Trejo (captain)
9 Colombia FW Radamel Falcao
10 Cape Verde FW Bebé
11 France MF Randy Nteka
12 Spain FW Andrés Martín
13 Spain GK Diego López
14 Spain MF Salvi Sánchez
No. Position Player
15 Spain DF Pep Chavarría
16 Ghana DF Abdul Mumin
17 Spain MF Unai López
18 Spain MF Álvaro García
19 France DF Florian Lejeune (on loan from Alavés)
20 Albania DF Iván Balliu
21 Senegal MF Pathé Ciss
22 Spain MF José Ángel Pozo
23 Spain MF Óscar Valentín
24 Montenegro DF Esteban Saveljich
30 Spain GK Miguel Morro
34 Spain FW Sergio Camello (on loan from Atlético Madrid)
Spain FW Raúl de Tomás

Reserve team

No. Position Player
28 Spain FW Pablo Muñoz
29 Spain MF Diego Méndez

Out on loan

No. Position Player
Spain DF Jorge Moreno (on loan to Córdoba until 30 June 2023)
Spain DF Martín Pascual (on loan to Ibiza until 30 June 2023)
No. Position Player
Spain MF Joni Montiel (on loan to Levante until 30 June 2023)
Spain FW Sergio Moreno (on loan to CA Osasuna B until 30 June 2023)

Current technical staff

Position Staff
Manager Spain Andoni Iraola
Assistant manager Spain Iñigo Pérez
Fitness coach Spain Pablo de la Torre
Goalkeeping coach Spain Pedro Moncayo
Analyst Spain Óscar Díaz
Doctor Spain Carlos Beceiro
Physiotherapist Spain Marcos Marín
Spain Miguel Ángel Martín
Spain Miguel García
Readaptator Spain Sergio Vázquez
Kit man Spain José Vargas
Spain Kiko Jiménez
Delegate Spain Miguel Ortiz

Last updated: September 2022
Source: Rayo Vallecano

Notable former players

Note: this list includes players that have played at least 100 league games and/or have reached international status.

  • Andorra Ildefons Lima
  • Argentina Francisco Cerro
  • Argentina Franco Di Santo
  • Argentina Alejandro Domínguez
  • Argentina Leonel Galeano
  • Argentina Paulo Gazzaniga
  • Argentina Sebastián Saja
  • Armenia Aras Özbiliz
  • Angola Manucho
  • Austria Toni Polster
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Elvir Baljić
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Elvir Bolić
  • Brazil Guilherme
  • Chile Jorge Valdivia
  • Chile Fernando Vergara
  • China Zhang Chengdong
  • Colombia Johan Mojica
  • Costa Rica Hernán Medford
  • Croatia Stjepan Andrijašević
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo Gaël Kakuta
  • Denmark Søren Andersen
  • Denmark Nicki Bille
  • England Laurie Cunningham
  • Equatorial Guinea Sergio Akieme
  • Equatorial Guinea Iván Zarandona
  • Ghana Derek Boateng
  • Guinea Lass Bangoura
  • Spain Raúl Bravo
  • Spain Antonio Calderón
  • Spain Rubén Cano
  • Spain Luis Cembranos
  • Spain David Cobeño
  • Spain Coke
  • Spain Juan José Collantes
  • Spain Pedro Contreras
  • Spain Diego Costa
  • Spain Ramón de Quintana
  • Spain Adri Embarba
  • Spain Felines
  • Spain Patxi Ferreira
  • Spain Javi Fuego
  • Spain Ricardo Gallego
  • Spain Antonio García Navajas
  • Spain Antonio Guzmán
  • Spain Pablo Hernández
  • Spain Carlos Llorens
  • Spain Diego Llorente
  • Spain Julen Lopetegui
  • Spain Míchel
  • Spain Michu
  • Spain José María Movilla
  • Spain Juan Muñiz
  • Spain Álvaro Negredo
  • Spain Saúl Ñíguez


Dates Name
1944–46 Spain Cayetano Sardinero
1946–47 Spain Julián Antón
1947–48 Spain Luis Pérez
1948–49 Spain Tomás Rodríguez Rubio
1949–50 Spain Ramón de la Fuente
1950–51 Spain Anselmo Nogales
1951–52 Spain Félix Huete
1952–53 Spain Lorenzo Sánchez Villar
1954–55 Spain Cándido Machado
1953–54 Spain Patricio Sánchez Calleja
1954–55 Spain Manuel Alepuz
1955–56 Spain Cándido Machado
1956–58 Spain Ramón Colón
1958 Spain Cándido Machado
1958–59 Argentina Lino Taioli
1959 Paraguay Heriberto Herrera
1959–60 Spain Ramón Colón
1960 Spain Alfonso Aparicio
1960–61 Spain Martín Camino
1961 Spain Ramón Cobo
1961 Spain Joseíto
1961–64 Spain Herrero
1964–67 Spain Pedro Eguiluz
July 1967 – June 1969 Spain José Antonio Olmedo
July 1969 – Feb 1971 Spain Manuel Peñalva
Feb 1971 – Jun 1972 Spain Enrique Orizaola
Dates Name
Jul 1972 – Jan 1973 Spain Manuel Vences
Jan 1973 – Jun 1974 Spain José Antonio Olmedo
Jun 1974 – Jun 1975 Uruguay Héctor Núñez
Jun 1975 – Feb 1976 Argentina Spain Alfredo Di Stéfano
Feb – Jun 1976 Spain José Antonio Olmedo
Jul 1976 – Jun 1977 Spain García Verdugo
Jun 1977 – Jun 1978 Uruguay Héctor Núñez
Jul 1978 – Jun 1979 Spain Eduardo González
Jun 1979 – Feb 1980 Uruguay Héctor Núñez
Feb – Jun 1980 Spain Rafael Iriondo
Jun 1980 – Dec 1981 Spain Eduardo González
Dec 1981 – Jun 1982 Spain Manuel Peñalva
Jun 1982 – Jun 1983 Spain Juanjo García
Jul – Nov 1983 Spain Máximo Hernández
Nov 1983 – Jun 1984 Spain Antonio Ruiz
1984–85 Spain Eduardo Caturla
1985–87 Uruguay Héctor Núñez
Jul 1987 – Jan 1990 Spain Felines
Jan – Jun 1990 Spain Emilio Cruz
Jul 1990 – Feb 1992 Spain Eusebio Ríos
Feb 1992 – Jun 1993 Spain José Antonio Camacho
Jul – Nov 1993 Spain Felines
Nov 1993 – Feb 1994 Spain Fernando Zambrano
Feb – Nov 1994 Spain David Vidal
Nov 1994 – Jun 1995 Spain Paquito
Jun – Oct 1995 Spain Pedro Mari Zabalza
Dates Name
Oct 1995 – Apr 1996 Spain Marcos Alonso
July 1996 – Feb 1997 Spain Paquito
Feb – Mar 1997 Spain Fernando Zambrano
Mar – Jun 1997 Spain Máximo Hernández
1997–98 Spain Josu Ortuondo
Jul 1998 – Jun 2001 Spain Juande Ramos
Jul – Oct 2001 Spain Andoni Goikoetxea
Oct 2001 – Jun 2002 Spain Gregorio Manzano
July 2002 – Jan 2003 Spain Fernando Vázquez
Feb – Apr 2003 Paraguay Gustavo Benítez
Apr – Jun 2003 Spain Antonio Iriondo
Jun – Nov 2003 Spain Julen Lopetegui
Nov 2003 – Feb 2004 Argentina Jorge D'Alessandro
Feb – Jun 2004 Spain Txetxu Rojo
Jun 2004 – Jun 2005 Spain Carlos Orúe
Jul 2005 – Jun 2006 Spain Míchel
Jun 2006 – Feb 2010 Spain Pepe Mel
Feb – Jun 2010 Spain Felipe Miñambres
Jul 2010 – Jun 2012 Spain José Ramón Sandoval
Jul 2012 – May 2016 Spain Paco Jémez
Jun – Nov 2016 Spain José Ramón Sandoval
Nov 2016 – Feb 2017 Spain Rubén Baraja
Feb 2017 – Mar 2019 Spain Míchel
Mar 2019 – Aug 2020 Spain Paco Jémez
Aug 2020 – Spain Andoni Iraola

Club presidents

Dates Name
1924–26 Julián Huerta
1926–27 José Montoya
1927–28 Galo Andrés
1929–30 José Antonio Sánchez
1930–31 Anastasio Sánchez
1931–36 Ángel Martínez
Dates Name
1939–43 Miguel Rodríguez Alzola
1943–46 Ezequiel Huerta
1946–48 José Rodríguez Rubio
1948–55 Miguel Rodríguez Alzola
1955–58 Jerónimo Martínez
1958–61 Tomás Esteras
Dates Name
1961–65 Iván Roiz
1965–73 Pedro Roiz
1973–78 Marcelino Gil
1978–80 Francisco Encinas
1980–81 Luis Quer
1981–89 Francisco Fontán
Dates Name
1989–91 Pedro García Jiménez
1991–94 José María Ruiz Mateos
1994–2011 Teresa Rivero
2011– Raúl Martín Presa


Estadio de Vallecas
Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas

Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas is a football stadium located on Calle Payaso Fofó 1, Vallecas. Opened on 10 May 1976, at first it was called "New Stadium Vallecas", but in January 2004, 13 years after the arrival of the Ruiz-Mateos family in 1991, it changed denominations, as the wife was also named by her husband, businessman José María, the first woman president of an elite football team.

It has a capacity of 14,708 spectators in an all-seated format, and dimensions of 102×64 m. Additionally, one of the goal ends does not have a grandstand, just a big wall with information panels.

In June 2009, the club announced plans for the construction of a new stadium.

Anthems and songs

Although most people recognise the supporting songs by ska-punk band Ska-P (Rayo Vallecano and Como un rayo), Rayo Vallecano has an official anthem which played at their home stadium before matches.

The club is also known for chanting the song "La Vida Pirata" (English: "The Pirate Life"), a song about pirates, which the Bukaneros are named after.


La vida pirata es la vida mejor (bis)

sin trabajar (bis)

Sin estudiar (bis)

Con la botella de ron (bis)

Soy capitán (bis)

del Santa Inés (bis)

Y en cada puerto tengo una mujer (bis)

La rubia es (bis)

Fenomenal (bis)

Y la morena tampoco esta mal (bis)

Las inglesas con su seriedad (bis)

Y las francesas que todo lo dan (bis)

Si alguna vez (bis)

Me he de casar (bis)

Me he de casar (bis)

Con la del Rayo, una, una y nada más (bis).


''The pirate life is the best life (bis)

without working (bis)

without studying (bis)

With the bottle of rum (bis)

I am captain (bis)

of the "Santa Inés"' (bis)

and in each port, I have a woman (bis)

the blonde is (bis)

phenomenal (bis)

and the brunette is not bad either (bis)

The English women with their seriousness (bis)

And the French women who give everything (bis)

If ever (bis)

I have to marry (bis)

I have to marry (bis)

with the one of Rayo, one, one and no more (bis).''

Club culture, support and community work

Rayo's ultras, the Bukaneros, are known for their left-wing views and often display political messages and other protests, mainly against the commercialisation of football. Rayo's ultras often display anti-racism and anti-fascist messages, however, and are often ostracised by the government as a result.

The club is known for being one of the last local neighbourhood clubs in Spain, with the club representing the barrio and its working-class status.

The Spanish anti-fascist band Ska-P are outspoken supporters of the club and have dedicated two songs to it, named Como un Rayo and Rayo Vallecano.

Rayo's players are often involved in charity work, one instance of this is that the then club captain Roberto Trashorras, amongst other players, regularly helps out at a homeless shelter.

In late March 2012, in support of the 2011–12 Spanish protests, the squad decided to take one day off from training to join the demonstrations. In 2014, 85-year-old Vallecas resident Carmen Martínez Ayuso was evicted from her house after living there since the 1960s. Rayo Vallecano and particularly coach Paco Jémez were touched by her story, and subsequently offered to fund Martínez for the foreseeable future.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rayo Vallecano de Madrid para niños

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