Newcastle United v Rayo Vallecano: When it is, ticket details and the former Manchester United and Chelsea players that could star
Eddie Howe’s side are back in England following a successful mid-season trip to Saudi Arabia and face Spanish opposition in their final friendly match before competitive football makes its return. Here, we take a look at everything supporters need to know about Newcastle’s friendly opponents, including: when the game is, who Rayo Vallecano’s key players are and why it will be a sweet homecoming for one of Newcastle’s former players.
When is Newcastle United v Rayo Vallecano?
Newcastle United’s friendly match with Rayo Vallecano takes place on Saturday, December 17. Kick-off at St James’s Park is at 12:30pm. Tickets for the game are still on sale and cost £20 for adults and £10 for concessions.
Who are Rayo Vallecano?
Rayo Vallecano currently sit in 8th place in La Liga having taken 22 points from their opening 14 league games. They’re currently enjoying a seven match unbeaten run in all competition - a run that has included a 1-0 away win at Sevilla that was followed up by a superb 3-2 win over the current european champions Real Madrid.
Vallecano were promoted from the Segunda Division in 2020/21 and finished four points above the relegation zone in their first season back in the top-flight. They were also Copa Del Rey semi-finalists last campaign, but succumbed to a 3-2 aggregate defeat to Real Betis.
Who are their key players?
Vallecano do have some very recognisable names in their ranks. The most notable being former Manchester United and Chelsea flop Radamel Falcao.
Now aged 36, Falcao netted six times last season and has added another two so far this campaign. In 36 Premier League games, Falcao scored just five goals during a disappointing two year spell in England.
Playing on the wing for Vallecano is another recognisable name in the form of ex-Manchester United winger Bebe. Bebe as played for Vallecano since 2018 and has put all memories of a hugely disappointing spell at Old Trafford behind him. Bebe made just seven senior appearances for Manchester United after joining in summer 2010.
Vallecano’s key player - and someone Newcastle will aim to keep quiet on Saturday - is their captain Oscar Trejo. Trejo can play in a variety of roles across the midfield and is someone Vallecano rely on to help their midfield tick along.
Florian Lejeune return and goalscoring records
Many Newcastle fans will be excited to see Florian Lejeune return to his old stomping ground, two years after departing the club without a farewell. Lejeune spent three injury hit seasons at Newcastle and will be best remembered for his two stoppage-time goals against Jordan Pickford and Everton away at Goodison Park.
Lejeune has seemingly taken these goalscoring exploits with him to Vallecano as he, remarkably, sits as their joint top-scorer with three strikes this season. These goals include a thunderous free-kick against Osasuna in September – a goal that went viral on social media, such was the quality of the Frenchman’s strike.
Lejeune left St James’s Park on a permanent deal in summer 2021, joining La Liga side Alaves, however, he could not help prevent their relegation from the top-flight.