Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, S.A.D. (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈraʝo βaʎeˈkano ðe maˈðɾið]), often abbreviated to Rayo, is a Spanish football team based in Madrid, in the neighbourhood of Vallecas. Founded on 29 May 1924 it currently plays in La Liga, holding home matches at the 15,500-seater Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas.
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 the first and second divisions. They appeared to have consolidated their top flight status after promotion in 1998–99, and the team's most successful season came in 2000–01, when they reached the UEFA Cup quarterfinals, going out only to eventual runners-up Deportivo Alavés (Rayo finished ninth in the previous season, but entered the competition via the fair play draw).
However, the club shortly thereafter fell on hard times, enduring successive relegations from the first (in 2002–03) and second divisions (2003–04). In 2005–06, the club hired Míchel, a legend for Real Madrid in the 1980s and 90s, as team manager.
The club finished the 2006–07 season in second place in third-tier, winning the promotion play-off semifinal, but losing in the final to SD Eibar (1–2 aggregate). The next season, Rayo returned to the second division after a four-year absence, winning the play-off, disposing of Benidorm CF in the semifinal, and Zamora CF in the last game (2–1 aggregate).
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 were eliminated 2–5 on aggregate in the round-of-32, by Russia's WFC Rossiyanka.
In 2010–11, Rayo Vallecano finished 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. In late March 2012, in support of the 2011–2012 Spanish protests, the squad decided to take one day off from training to join the demonstrations.
- 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
Season to season
- Federación Regional Castellana de Fútbol (1928–30; 1939–49)
- 7 seasons in Primera Categoría
- 3 seasons in Segunda Categoría
- Federación Obrera de Fútbol (1931–36)
As of 31 January 2013. Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
Campo de Vallecás 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, business man José María, the first woman president of an elite soccer team.
It has a capacity of 14,708 spectators in an all-seated format, and dimensions of 102x64m. Additionally, one of the goalends 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.
- Rayo Vallecano was Laurie Cunningham's last club – he was killed in a car crash just outside of Madrid in 1989, after a sole season. He also had represented neighbours Real Madrid for four years.
- 2012–13 (current)