Tottenham's Iago Falque prepares for Bale showdown, blames him for slow progress

Master meets apprentice in La Liga this weekend as one former Tottenham player meets another whose future is unclear.

Rayo Vallecano endured a terrible start to the La Liga season, and although life for them has been on the up slightly over the past month, it could take a turn for the worst this weekend.

They face a Real Madrid side who rattled seven goals past Sevilla in midweek and suddenly look like clicking. It is not what a side in 19th in La Liga need.

There is one particular intriguing sub-plot to the match-up which could yet inspire a memorable performance from one of their players, with loanee Iago Falque going up against his former Tottenham teammate Gareth Bale.

Tottenham loaned Iago Falque to Almeira last January, and it proved a productive spell, playing regular first team football in the Liga Adelante, scoring twice and providing six assists. One of these assists came in the promotion play-offs, in which the club emerged victorious.

After scoring three goals in two games for Spurs' under-21 side at the start of the season, Rayo Vallecano struck an agreement for Falque to spend the season in Spain where he could get the opportunity to play top flight football, which was not looking likely at White Hart Lane.

He got off to a nightmare start, injured just four minutes into his debut and missed the following five games with a torn abductor muscle.

But on October 5 the 23-year-old made his comeback, and has been a regular ever since, featuring in all four Rayo Vallecano games over the past month.

His re-introduction also coincided with Rayo winning their first two games of the season, and he has nailed down the starting spot on the left wing, playing 90 minutes for the first time a couple of weeks ago.

Falque is yet to score or provide an assist, as he finds his feet at the top level in a struggling side which is rooted to the bottom of the table with just nine points from 11 games.

He does however have a particular point to prove to set that right against Real Madrid this weekend when he faces them, and world record signing Gareth Bale.

He told Marca: "My path was blocked by Bale; I play in a similar position to him and it was tough to get any game time with such a great player standing in my way.

"Competing for a place with him, Modric, Lamela and so on was no mean feat."

It's true that if Spurs had been struggling for a left-winger, Falque could have seen his number called in the Premier League, a six minute cameo off the bench last season was as close as it came. With Gareth Bale in irrepressible form last season, he is right, the path was well and truly blocked.

He was though clearly too good for the under-21 side, bagging five goals and five assists in seven matches early last season.

If he can kickstart his Rayo career and make a name for himself on Saturday night, it could be his moment to show Andre Villas-Boas what he has so far been missing out on.

Can Falque make an impression tomorrow? What do you think? 

image: © juantiagues

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