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Now established as one of the elder statesman of La Liga, it is worth remembering that Roberto Trashorras boasts a blaugrana past. The 34 year old midfielder from Galicia, on Spain’s north western Atlantic coast, played in the Barça youth teams between the years 1996 and 2003. He made his debut with the first team in 2001 but limited opportunities saw him begin a journeyman career which took him to Real Madrid B and then various clubs before arriving at Rayo Vallecano in the summer of 2011. As capitan of the team from Vallecas, Trashorras has blossomed under coach Paco Jémez, becoming a talismanic figure who best represents on the field his coach’s expansive and attacking brand of football. He is one of the best passers of the ball in the league and Trashorras and Rayo come into the game at Camp Nou comfortably positioned in mid table with a reputation for being an attractive side to watch.
Could we consider you an extension of coach Paco Jémez out there on the field?
“It’s true that I have been in football a number of years and a few at this club under the boss, It’s for that reason that I know what he wants and what he likes, Knowing how he sees football helps me and so I can help my team mates.”
The coach admitted that one of the first things he did when he arrived at the club was to talk to you. What did he say?
“He knew my strengths, above all with the ball. He told me that he wanted me to be important, but that I would have to work defensively and tactically to pressure up the pitch and be intense. He asked for a little more from me and I think I have given it to him. I feel in the best form of my career, individually and as a team.”
What does Rayo have that you saw and learnt in the youth system at Barça?
“A lot. The way of approaching football is similar. There are little differences obviously. We look to control the game and defend with the ball. It’s clear we have our limitations. Nevertheless, being a small club doesn’t stop you trying to play good football.”
What influence on you, as the player that you are now, did it have passing through La Masia?
“Everything. I played for Barça for eight years, in which playing for the first team was a dream come true. In the youth teams I learnt values that have always been with me.”
You have admitted publicly to being a Barça fan, what does it feel like every time you play at Camp Nou?
“It’s special. I have never hidden the fact that between Barça and Madrid, I am a Barça fan. Let’s be clear, Rayo is my team and the one I always want to win. For that reason, Camp Nou is always special. Furthermore, you always bump into people that you knew from La Masia, former team mates.”
Up until now, Rayo are famous for not adapting their style against the big sides. Will it be like that at Camp Nou?
“Let there be no doubt about that. It has always been like that against Barça, last year we even had more of the ball then them. Taking into account how difficult it is, we will try to be brave and try to make Barça have less of the ball and less control than they are used to.”
What do the Rayo player think when their coach tells them to play with three at the back against top quality opponents?
“Well, you don’t defend better by having more men in defence. When the boss decides to play with three at the back it gives us positives, like more possession because we have more men in midfield. It’s true that there are more risks but at the same time it offers us more control. It’s a tactic that has brought us good results.”
Rayo are the team who have the second fewest draws in the league. Would you be happy with one this time?
“Never before a game do we think about drawing. For a reason, if you think about drawing you never win and you often lose. Our attitude is to win and play well. Everyone knows that, logically, a draw is a good result at Camp Nou, but we draw hardly ever. So, knowing it will be tough, we will try to win.”
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