Rayo Vallecano

Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, S.A.D. (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈraʝo βaʎeˈkano ðe maˈðɾið]),[lower-alpha 1] often abbreviated to Rayo, is a Spanish football team based in Madrid, in the neighbourhood of Vallecas. Rayo was founded on 29 May 1924, and currently compete in Segunda División following relegation from La Liga. Home games are held at the 14,708-seater Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas stadium.

Rayo Vallecano
Full nameRayo Vallecano de Madrid, SAD
Nickname(s)Los Franjirrojos (The Red Sashes)
Los Vallecanos (The Vallecans)
Founded29 May 1924 (1924-05-29)
GroundCampo de Fútbol de Vallecas,
Madrid, Spain
OwnerRaúl Martín Presa (68%)
Abdul Helou (32%)
PresidentRaúl Martín Presa
Head coachPaco Jémez
LeagueSegunda División
2018–19La Liga, 20th (relegated)
WebsiteClub website

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.


Rayo Vallecano saw the light of day 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.[1]

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.[2] 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;[3] Rayo finished ninth in the previous campaign, but entered the competition via the fair play draw.[4]

First spells in the new Segunda Division and Below

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.[5]

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).[6] 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.[7]

A Familiar Sight in the Segunda

In the first season back in the second tier of Spanish football, Rayo finished comfortably, often either in or just outside the promotion places. That same year, its women's team was crowned league champions for the first time, thereby qualifying for the UEFA Women's Champions League, but was eliminated 2–5 on aggregate in the round-of-32 by Russia's WFC Rossiyanka.

In 2010–11, Rayo Vallecano 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.[8][9][10] 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.[11]

Branding Abroad in the Americas

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.[12][13] Rayo OKC folded after a year or so due to Rayo Vallecano's relegation from the Primera División and a dispute between the co-owners of Rayo OKC, led to less finance for the U.S. side.

Back in the Second Tier

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.[14]

Rayo's first season back in Segunda División was a poor one, with both problems on the field and off, it led to them to finish in 12th position. Rayo went through 3 different managers in the 2016–17 Segunda División season and finally settling on club legend Míchel.[15] 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 recently retired goalkeeper for Rayo - David Cobeño as the sporting director of the club.[16] Rayo secured their return to the Primera Division with a 1-0 over Lugo on the 41st game of the season.[17]

Return to La Liga

In the 2018–19 La Liga Season, Rayo played city rivals Getafe in a South City derby and lost 2–1.[18] Rayo almost achieved their best ever result eventually losing to Barcelona[19] On 4 May 2019, Rayo were relegated back to the Segunda Division after losing 4–1 to Levante UD.[20]

Back in the First Division

Club background

  • 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


National Titles

  • Second Division (1): 2017-18
  • Third Division (4): 1955-56, 1964-65, 1984-85, 2007-08

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 4 1ª Reg. 9th
1941/42 4 1ª Reg. 4th
1942/43 4 1ª Reg. 3rd
1943/44 4 1ª Reg. 7th
1944/45 5 2ª Reg.
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 Quarterfinals
Season Tier Division Place Copa del Rey
1980/81 2 5th Quarterfinals
1981/82 2 7th Semifinals
1982/83 2 9th Round of 16
1983/84 2 20th Third round
1984/85 3 2ªB 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 Quarterfinals
1995/96 1 19th Third round
1996/97 1 18th Quarterfinals
1997/98 2 8th Second round
1998/99 2 5th First round
1999/00 1 9th Quarterfinals
Season Tier Division Place Copa del Rey
2000/01 1 14th Round of 16
2001/02 1 11th Quarterfinals
2002/03 1 20th Round of 64
2003/04 2 21st Round of 64
2004/05 3 2ªB 3rd Round of 64
2005/06 3 2ªB 5th Third round
2006/07 3 2ªB 2nd Round of 16
2007/08 3 2ªB 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

European history

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

Current squad

As of 4 September 2019[21]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 GK Alberto García (captain)
2 DF Tito
3 DF Saúl García (on loan from Alavés)
4 MF Mario Suárez
5 DF Alejandro Catena
6 MF Santi Comesaña
7 FW Leonardo Ulloa
8 FW Óscar Trejo
9 FW Andrés Martín
10 MF Bebé
11 FW Adri Embarba
13 GK Stole Dimitrievski
No. Position Player
14 FW Federico Piovaccari
16 DF Antonio Milić (on loan from Anderlecht)
17 DF Luis Advíncula
18 MF Álvaro García
19 DF Antonio Luna (on loan from Levante)
20 DF Emiliano Velázquez
21 DF Abdoulaye Ba
22 MF José Ángel Pozo
23 MF Óscar Valentín
24 DF Esteban Saveljich
28 MF Joni Montiel

Reserve team

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
27 DF Martín Pascual
29 MF Javi Rubio
No. Position Player
30 GK Miguel Morro
35 GK Dani Merino

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
DF Jordi Amat (at Eupen until 30 June 2020)
DF Mario Hernández (at SS Reyes until 30 June 2020)
MF Lass Bangoura (at Vancouver Whitecaps FC until 31 December 2019)
No. Position Player
FW Adrián Carrasco (at Ebro until 30 June 2020)
FW Sergio Benito (at Cultural Leonesa until 30 June 2020)
FW Sergio Moreno (at Valencia Mestalla until 30 June 2020)

Current technical staff

Position Staff
Manager Paco Jémez
Assistant manager Juan Luna Eslava
Fitness coach Julio Muñoz Saldaña
Scout Rubén Reyes
Fitness coach Miguel García
Goalkeeping coach Pedro Moncayo
Goalkeeping coach Jorge Ramírez Fernández

Last updated: May 2018
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.


Dates Name
1944–46 Cayetano Sardinero
1946–47 Julián Antón
1947–48 Luis Pérez
1948–49 Tomás Rodríguez Rubio
1949–50 Ramón de la Fuente
1950–51 Anselmo Nogales
1951–52 Félix Huete
1952–53 Lorenzo Sánchez Villar
1954–55 Cándido Machado
1953–54 Patricio Sánchez Calleja
1954–55 Manuel Alepuz
1955–56 Cándido Machado
1956–58 Ramón Colón
1958 Cándido Machado
1958–59 Lino Taioli
1959 Heriberto Herrera
1959–60 Ramón Colón
1960 Alfonso Aparicio
1960–61 Martín Camino
1961 Ramón Cobo
1961 Joseíto
1961–64 Herrero
1964–67 Pedro Eguiluz
July 1967–June 69 José Antonio Olmedo
July 1969–Feb 71 Manuel Peñalva
Dates Name
Feb 1971–Jun 72 Enrique Orizaola
Jul 1972–Jan 73 Manuel Vences
Jan 1973–Jun 1974 José Antonio Olmedo
Jun 1974–Jun 1975 Héctor Núñez
Jun 1975–Feb 1976 Alfredo Di Stéfano
Feb 1976–Jun 1976 José Antonio Olmedo
Jul 1976–Jun 1977 García Verdugo
Jun 1977–Jun 1978 Héctor Núñez
Jul 1978–Jun 1979 Eduardo González
Jun 1979–Feb 1980 Héctor Núñez
Feb 1980–Jun 1980 Rafael Iriondo
Jun 1980–Dec 1981 Eduardo González
Dec 1981–Jun 1982 Manuel Peñalva
Jun 1982–Jun 1983 Juanjo García
Jul 1983–Nov 1983 Máximo Hernández
Nov 1983–Jun 1984 Antonio Ruiz
1984–85 Eduardo Caturla
1985–87 Héctor Núñez
Jul 1987–Jan 1990 Felines
Jan 1990–Jun 1990 Emilio Cruz
Jul 1990–Feb 1992 Eusebio Ríos
Feb 1992–Jun 1993 José Antonio Camacho
Jul 1993–Nov 1993 Felines
Nov 1993–Feb 1994 Fernando Zambrano
Feb 1994–Nov 1994 David Vidal
Dates Name
Nov 1994–Jun 1995 Paquito
Jun 1995–Oct 1995 Pedro Mari Zabalza
Oct 1995–Apr 1996 Marcos Alonso
July 1996–Feb 1997 Paquito
Feb 1997–Mar 1997 Fernando Zambrano
Mar 1997–Jun 1997 Máximo Hernández
1997–98 Josu Ortuondo
Jul 1998 – Jun 2001 Juande Ramos
Jul 2001–Oct 2001 Andoni Goikoetxea
Oct 2001–Jun 2002 Gregorio Manzano
July 2002–Jan 2003 Fernando Vázquez
Feb 2003–Apr 2003 Gustavo Benítez
Apr 2003–Jun 2003 Antonio Iriondo
Jun 2003–Nov 2003 Julen Lopetegui
Nov 2003–Feb 2004 Jorge D'Alessandro
Feb 2004–Jun 2004 Txetxu Rojo
Jun 2004–Jun 2005 Carlos Orúe
Jul 2005 – Jun 2006 Míchel
Jun 2006–Feb 2010 Pepe Mel
Feb 2010–Jun 2010 Felipe Miñambres
Jul 2010 – Jun 2012 José Ramón Sandoval
Jul 2012–May 2016 Paco Jémez
Jun 2016–Nov 2016 José Ramón Sandoval
Nov 2016– Feb 2017 Rubén Baraja
Feb 2017–Mar 2019 Míchel
Mar 2019– Paco Jémez

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


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.


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.

Miscellaneous info

  • Rayo Vallecano was Laurie Cunningham's last club – he was killed in a car crash just outside Madrid in 1989, after a sole season. He also had represented neighbours Real Madrid for four years.
  • 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.
  • In March 2014, Huawei agreed to sponsor Rayo Vallecano for two league matches against Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.[22]
  • 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.[23]
  • Rayo's players are often involved in charity work, one instance of this is that the current club captain Roberto Trashorras, amongst other players, regularly helps out at a homeless shelter.


  • 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, are often ostracised by the government because they are branded as an ultras, this occurred following the death of Deportivo La Coruña fan known as 'Jimmy' who died following clashes between fans, with the Bukaneros not involved at all in the clashes.
  • The club is known for being the last neighbourhood club in Spain. As a result, the club represents the barrio and its working-class status.
  • The club is known for chanting the song "La Vida Pirata" or in English "The Pirate Life" (a song based on the life pirates, in 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)

de un barco inglés (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 no 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 an English ship (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).''


  1. In isolation, Vallecano is pronounced [baʎeˈkano].


  1. "Historia resumida del Rayo" [Brief history of Rayo] (in Spanish). Rayo Vallecano. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  2. "Classification 2nd Division 1983-84". www.bdfutbol.com. Retrieved 2019-11-05.
  3. "Alaves through as Rayo fall". BBC Sport. 15 March 2001. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  4. "El 'Fair Play', ¿una puerta abierta para jugar en Europa?" ['Fair Play', open door to play in Europe?] (in Spanish). Terra. 20 March 2013. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  5. "Michel, nuevo entrenador del Rayo" [Michel, new Rayo manager] (in Spanish). ABC. 23 June 2005. Archived from the original on 9 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  6. "El Eibar regresa a Segunda tras remontar ante el Rayo Vallecano" [Eibar returns to Segunda after coming back from behind against Rayo Vallecano] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 24 June 2007. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  7. "El Rayo vuelve a la División de Plata del fútbol español" [Rayo return to silver category of Spanish football] (in Spanish). Marca. 15 June 2008. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  8. Dona Teresa takes off mask Archived 2011-04-26 at the Wayback Machine; Football Scouting, 1 March 2011
  9. Unpaid Rayo have sights set on La Liga payday Archived 2012-10-04 at the Wayback Machine; Reuters, 30 March 2011
  10. Los jugadores del Rayo Vallecano seguirán sin cobrar (Rayo Vallecano players will still not be paid) Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine; El Correo Gallego, 26 February 2011 (in Spanish)
  11. "Rayo Vallecano players strike over Spanish austerity cuts". When Saturday Comes. 29 March 2012. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  12. "Rayo Vallecano set to buy Oklahoma City FC".
  13. "El Rayo compra la mayoría de acciones del Oklahoma City" [Rayo purchases majority of Oklahoma City shares] (in Spanish). AS. 19 August 2015. Archived from the original on 20 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  14. "La Liga: Getafe and Rayo Vallecano relegated, Sporting Gijon stay up".
  15. "Míchel has been appointed the new coach of Rayo Vallecano".
  16. "David Cobeño, new sports director".
  17. "Rayo Vallecano win promotion to La Liga".
  18. "Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Getafe: Visitors seal win in derby".
  19. "Luis Suarez saves Barcelona from surprise slip-up against Vallecano".
  20. "Rayo Vallecano relegated to the Segunda Division". Football Espana.
  21. "Plantilla Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - Rayo - Web Oficial". Plantilla Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - Rayo - Web Oficial. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  22. "Huawei sponsors Rayo Vallecano for two matches, against Real Madrid and Bilbao". GSM Insider. 30 March 2014. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  23. Villalba, Juanjo (January 2015). "Spanish Football Team Rescues an Old Lady". Vice Magazine. 13 (1): 15.
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