Manchester United flops Bebe and Radamel Falcao help propel Madrid minnows Rayo Vallecano to Champions League spots with La Liga miracle
It was arguably the most bizarre signing in Premier League history, but Bebe’s disastrous move to Manchester United may be on the verge of reaching its redemption point.
With only Portuguese second division appearances under his belt, Bebe joined Premier League side Vitoria Guimaraes in 2010, and surprisingly, five weeks later, he switched to Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted never seeing his new signing, and amid the confusion and furious Google search, Bebe’s appearances were exactly as expected.
With embarrassing passes and highly questionable technique, the youngster’s career at Manchester lasted only seven games, and that seemed like the end of it.
A decade later, Bebe finally found a home in Madrid. A loan period has become permanent, and a career that seemed destined to be spent traveling the Iberian Peninsula may soon be on the brink of history.
Not just minnows in Europe or Spain, but minnows in Madrid, the Rayo Vallecano have spent their history as a working class alien in the shadow of Atletico and Real, but they are now emerging.
A yo-yo club in recent years that were as low as third tier in 2008, Rayo could be on the verge of reaching new La Liga heights, having barely returned with a sixth place finish in the second division in June.
Bebe has been in two promotions in five years at Vallecas, but this year things are different with the team circling Champions League places, and it’s not just one United rejection, but two.
Radamel Falcao’s career is just as strange as Bebe’s, but for completely different reasons.
When moving to Europe, the Colombian’s goal was of a different class, scoring at least 34 goals in his first four seasons split between FC Porto and Atletico Madrid.
Ligue 1 team Monaco broke the bank for Falcao in 2013, but injuries to both knees and ended his rise to the pantheon as the game’s best center-forward.
Manchester United and Chelsea took their chances with the cheap loaned weakened striker, but it quickly became clear that his time at the top was over, soon leaving for Galatasaray for some fun in Turkey.
That fun got serious this year however, with Falcao sniffing at the opportunity to return to one of Europe’s top leagues, he canceled his contract and surprisingly returned to Spain for one last hurray.
A low-risk move for both teams that could have easily failed on the spot has since turned into a high reward, with Falcao scoring 10 minutes after his September debut and scoring five goals in twice as many games since.
And whenever par was expected, with the Rayo appearing ready to resume their relegation fights, the opposite happened, with the team even occupying a place in the top four, a scandal for their gigantic neighbors. from Madrid.
Rayo’s only other European adventure was in the 2000-01 Uefa Cup, but as the season progresses it starts to look like a minimum.
And to explain it even further, Old Trafford’s ties extend to the bench, where manager Andoni Iraola enjoyed his greatest night of all time.
Captain of Marcelo Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao team in 2012-13, Iraola helped put the manager and the club on the European map with surprisingly relentless performances.
The right-back led his side to an iconic 5-3 demolition of Ferguson’s United, sending the club on their way to the Europa League final, a feat they also matched in the Copa del Rey.
The former Spain international looks set for an incredible coaching career having excelled for just three years in the dugout, but the only thing more surprising than his accomplishments this season are two of the players he’s doing it with.
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