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On Sunday, FC Barcelona are back in action in La Liga as they host Real Valladolid, kick-off at 7.30pm CEST. Here's our lowdown on los pucelanos.
Where are they from?
About 190 km northwest of Madrid and with a population of just over 300,000, Valladolid is the thirteenth biggest city in Spain. Capital of the former Kingdom of Castile, it was also capital of Spain before it was moved to Madrid in 1606.
Formed in 1928, the club with the distinctive violet and white striped shirts are ranked thirteenth in the all-time Liga table. Since 1980, they have more or less been first division regulars. They have been relegated five times but have always managed to win their way back up again.
That includes last season, when after being relegated in 2020/21, they bounced straight back up at the first attempt.
The club’s only major honour was the now defunct League Cup, which they won in 1984.
Did you know?
- Valladolid reached the quarter finals of the old European Cup Winners' Cup back in 1990, losing 3-1 in a penalty shoot out against AS Monaco.
- Their José Zorrilla stadium is named after the 19th century poet and playwright who hailed from the city of Valladolid.
- Former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Newcastle United coach Rafa Benítez began his top flight coaching career at Valladolid.
- The president of Real Valladolid is none other than former Barça striker and Brazilian legend Ronaldo Nazário, scorer of 47 goals in one season at the club, 1996-97.
After finishing second behind Almeria in last season's second division, Valladolid were unbeaten in their preseason:
Atlético Tordesillas 0–2 Valladolid
Unionistas de Salamanca 1–2 Valladolid
Burgos Spain 0–0 Valladolid
Ponferradina 1–2 Valladolid
Brest 0–0 Valladolid
Rayo Vallecano 0–0 Valladolid
Valladolid 0–0 Lazio (Valladolid won on pens)
However, their Liga campaign got off on the wrong foot when they lost 3-0 at home to Villarreal in their opening fixture. But they followed that with an impressive 1-1 draw at the home of Sevilla.
Head to head
Barça were on a 22-match unbeaten streak against Valladolid, including six games scoring four or more goals at Camp Nou, until a 1-0 defeat at the José Zorrilla put a serious dent in their 2013/14 title challenge, with Atlético Madrid going on to take the trophy.
That win in 2014 remains their only victory in this fixture with 14 defeats in their last 15 La Liga games against FC Barcelona.
Two seasons ago, Barça beat Valladolid 3-0, with first half goals from Clement Lenglet and Martin Braithwaite and a third from Leo Messi after the break, following that wonderful back-heel from Pedri (well worth another watch in the video below).
But in the Catalan capital in the reverse fixture, Valladolid very nearly escaped with a point. Ousmane Dembélé scuppered those hopes with a goal in the very last minute of regular time.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS (ALL IN LA LIGA)
05/04/21 FC Barcelona 1 (Dembélé) Valladolid 0
22/12/20 Valladolid 0 FC Barcelona 3 (Lenglet, Braithwaite, Messi)
11/07/20 Valladolid 0 FC Barcelona 1 (Vidal)
29/10/19 FC Barcelona 5 (Lenglet, Vidal, Messi (2), Suárez) Valladolid 1
16/02/19 FC Barcelona 1 (Messi) Valladolid 0
25/08/18 Valladolid 0 FC Barcelona 1 (Dembélé)
Valladolid's biggest summer investment was in winger Ivan Sanchez, who was already at the club on loan from Birmingham City. as was Ecuadorian winger Gonzalo Plata from Sporting Lisbon, who has also been acquired permanently.
Goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo has arrived an a free from Villarreal, Mickaël Malsa comes in from Levante and Zou Ferral is another arrival from Sporting who adds to the club's Moroccan connections.
Gonzalo Plata (Ecuador, 28), Shon Weissman (Israel, 23); Zouhair Feddal (Morocco, 22); Jawad El Yamiq (Morocco, 10); Mickaël Malsa (Martinique, 4); Stiven Plaza (Ecuador, 2); Sergio Asenjo (Spain, 1); Anuar Tuhami (Morocco, 1)
Jordi Masip (pictured below) was Barça third-choice goalie for several years but only made one competitive appearance. But he’s the regular starter for Valladolid, who he joined in 2017 and for whom he has been a huge success and is now team captain.
Midfielder Ramón Rodríguez Jiménez, better known as Monchu, grew up at La Masia and played 63 games for Barça B and even got to play in the Champions League before being loaned to Girona. In 2021, he switched to Granada, from where he is currently on loan.
Striker Sergi Guardiola (no relation to Pep) spent a short spell with Barça B in 2015. Senegalese defender Sekou Gassama was also there for a while, although he was a centre back at the time.
José Rojo Martín, better known as Pacheta, was a midfielder for various clubs, but is best remembered for his spells at Espanyol and Numancia. After coaching around Spain, and also in Poland and Thailand, he achieved recognition at Elche, who he guided into the first division. He then took the Huesca job but resigned after failing to keep the team in La Liga. He then replaced Sergio González at Valladolid and in his first season got them back playing La Liga football. This will be first season managing at the top tier in Spain.
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