Rayo Vallecano: Fran García: “I am grateful to the time of injuries” | Sports

Before returning to Real Madrid in a few weeks, where he was trained, Fran García (Bolaños de Calatrava, 23 years old) returns this Wednesday with Rayo Vallecano to the Bernabéu (7:30 p.m., Movistar), where he played only once in white. It was December 6, 2018, and the night before he slept like nothing. They recruited him from Castilla at the last minute and he imagined that he was going to fill in for the Cup against Melilla: “Manolo Díaz called me at eight in the afternoon [responsable de la cantera] and he told me that I had to be at the Bernabéu at ten, that he was called up with the first team. I was in the car with a friend, to get a piece of furniture. Imagine… We finished, I left him at home and left ”, he recalls in the sports city of Rayo.

He started on the bench, but Carvajal, left back that day, was injured and Solari brought him into the game. He has a memory of how the stadium looks from down there that makes him smile: “It was looking up, up… you almost fell backwards.”

He did not play in the first team again, although he has always had it in mind: “When I arrived here, my dream was to return to Madrid, and it is to return to Madrid. That hasn’t changed, ”says he, who, thanks to Andoni Iraola, has become one of the best full-backs in the League. He left La Fábrica in the summer of 2020, a very strange moment due to the pandemic. His season did not resume after confinement: “I spent six months without competing. It’s like a very serious injury. You wonder: What will it be like when I return? I’ll be ready?”. He considered an offer from the First Division and several from the Second Division, and decided to try to promote with Rayo. He did not want to leave the capital: “I am very close to my people, my circle and I was afraid to move after everything we had been through that year.”

The family took him to Rayo, and in Rayo he found another: “It shows on and off the field. You cannot find this relationship in other clubs. Not only the players, but the workers, the same fans, the close treatment. In another place it is impossible ”.

And that, due to the capacity restrictions of the time, it took him a long time to get to know the heat of Vallecas: “The first time there was any public was in the playoff of ascent. Everyone told me: ‘You’ll see when you see the stadium full’. It was little then, but it was noticeable. Vallecas, no matter how little there is, it shows. I was like, ‘This is a pressure cooker.’ And they told me: ‘You haven’t seen anything.’ Until the first full: “De locos”.

He found a home in Vallecas: “Madrid doesn’t have very different values ​​from Rayo either. Go all the way, have that bravery, the courage. Defend your pride, say here I am and whoever comes has to fight. I feel like one more.”

There he has hit the definitive soccer spurt with Iraola: “He has been like my sports father. It is what gives me to be here today. I have grown a lot in the defensive aspect, I knew he had to improve, because in lower categories he played in an attacking position, as a winger. In youth I went to the side, but in Madrid you have a lot of the ball and they attack you little. Second is a very fierce competition in which any detail is penalized. It was new to me.”

Iraola’s tactical tutelage has been essential: “I am fast and many times I can correct with speed, but when it no longer gives you speed, you have to look for other tricks, another positioning, knowing how to read the play well, where to position yourself, what space to give, and that is given to you by the competition. It is one of the things that I have tried to promote the most these years ”.

It has not been the most complex challenge that he has overcome to be, once again, one step away from Madrid. Between the ages of 16 and 18, still in the quarry, he suffered seven shoulder injuries: “I even considered quitting football. I believe a lot in destiny and, ugh, why so much injury? He continued, and he does not have such a bad memory of that anguish: “There is always something good. I, for example, continued studying. That helps you mature in other aspects. Deep down, I am grateful to that time of injuries. It was a moment in which, if not, you have other things on your mind, and it is very complex ”.

The part of the attack, in which he begins to stand out as a scorer with a good mid-distance shot, was already brought from La Fábrica. This season he has marked Atlético and Barcelona. In Valdebebas he had two teachers from the Brazilian school of attacking wingers. He trained from time to time with Marcelo when he was called up to train with the first team, and received advice from Roberto Carlos, an assistant at Castilla: “It was something incredible… Saying: ‘I have them here next to me, and I can be a sponge and learn everything you can”. From the latter, a piece of advice stuck with him: “He used to say that you have to enjoy playing football. The moment you don’t enjoy it, it seems like you’re missing something.”

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