Angel Rangel: Swansea’s Spanish Saviour
Posted by Matt Walters | Published on April 6, 2016
It doesn’t seem too long ago since Swansea signed an unheard of 24-year-old Spanish right-back from Catalan club Terrassa FC in the Segunda Division B. The story of his scouting is an interesting one; Swansea’s scout had been sent by manager Roberto Martinez to follow a winger from a different club who happened to play Terrassa. The scout watched the game but Rangel had played so well, the winger didn’t have a chance to get into the match. The scout gave his feedback to Roberto Martinez; himself from Catalonia, and after further scouting, Swansea had signed a player who represented the change the club was to undergo.
When he arrived at Swansea, the club was undergoing a transitional period; club icons such as Lee Trundle and Willy Gueret were departing as well as the manager who had won promotion from the basement tier of English football and had missed out on promotion to the Championship via the playoffs on penalties to Barnsley not long before: Kenny Jackett. The club were looking for another manager and had chosen former skipper Roberto Martinez. Martinez; a former Barcelona supporter was an advocate of tiki-taka football and had signed some players to encourage that, most of whom were Spanish.
In his first season at Swansea, he played over 50 games in all competitions, immediately moulding into the right-back role of a rock solid defence as Swansea dominated the league, winning promotion as champions: 10 points off runners-up Nottingham Forest. Unaccustomed to playing at such an intensity so frequently, the defender spent the best part of his holidays nursing injury.
Since his signing the defender has had great success at the club, being named in the best XI of the Football League between 2000 and 2009, gaining his 300th appearance in Swansea’s 2-2 draw with Stoke and playing in goal following Michel Vorm’s dismissal against Cardiff in 2013. He started a campaign to help feed the homeless of Swansea, taking them leftover sandwiches from a cafe with his wife Nikki. The Spanish born defender even attempted to gain eligibility to play for Wales on residency grounds. It was rejected as he had not spent 5 years in continuous education as he already had a degree in Economics before signing for Swansea. He also captained Swansea during their most famous night on the European stage, an astonishing 3-0 away win against Valencia. In that match, Swansea fielded more Spanish players than the Spanish club and humiliated them at the Mestalla.
Angel Rangel may not be the most glamorous name in the star-studded Premier League but very few players have showcased more loyalty towards their club. His contract expires next season, the season that marks his tenth in this country and his future is unsure. One thing is sure though, his legacy at this club will be very difficult to replicate.