WHEN Kyle Walker sealed a £53million move from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester City last week, there was one tweet missing from the social media outrage.
How many Michus was the right-back worth?
After the 2012/13 campaign, when the Spanish forward scored 22 goals in 43 games and helped Swansea City lift the League Cup, his £2.2million transfer was deemed the bargain of the century.
So much so fans would often state ‘you could buy ten Michus for what they paid for him’ when referring other expensive signings.
Sadly, the 31-year-old was forced to retire this week due to a persistent ankle injury.
And Football Whispers have taken a look at the rise and fall of the Swansea hero.
The answer is Walker cost 24 Michus, but news this week only solidified the fall from grace suffered by the former Celta Vigo forward.
Last term he played for Real Oviedo, the club from the city where he was born, but in 27 La Liga 2 appearances, he managed just one goal and one assist in the Spanish second division.
Signed from Rayo Vallecano in 2012, Michu arrived at the Liberty Stadium as an attacking midfielder and shocked everyone with an opening day brace against Queens’ Park Rangers.
A close relationship with Michael Laudrup and the chance to play in the Europa League convinced him to stay for another year. Although he struggled to replicate his league form, his displays in Europe were memorable, including two goals and an assist as they stunned Valencia 3-0 at the Mestalla.
He earned himself a place in the Spain squad, coming off the bench to replace David Villa in the 2-1 win over Belarus in 2013. It would be his first and only cap for La Furia Roja.
It was during the South Wales derby in 2013 his decline began. Picking up an ankle injury, he was rushed back into action as the pressure began to mount on Laudrup in December. Injured again, by the time he had recovered, the Dane was no longer in charge in South Wales.
Come the summer of 2014, it was clear the Spaniard wanted to leave the club. He had only featured five times during the second half of the season and new boss Garry Monk was keen to split up the Spanish clique that had taken over the changing room.
Finally, a loan move to Napoli was completed in July, ending his time in the Premier League.
In November, his new team announced Michu would need ankle surgery, and come the end of the season, he’d played just seven times, starting three and failed to find the back of the net.
In 2012 Michu’s hometown club Oviedo were saved from bankruptcy and the attacker said: “It would be a dream to return to Oviedo and retire there with them in the top tier, because that’s my home and I feel so loved there.”
After the disappointing spell in Italy, he returned to Swansea and then made the surprising decision to join Langreo – that would be the first move towards fulfilling his dream.
They play in the Tercera Division, below the Segunda and Segunda B, to call it the fourth tier is being generous since the third has four separate regional leagues, comprising of 20 teams.
MICHU’S SENSATIONAL 2012/13 SEASON
- Michu was a steal at £2.1million when he joined Swansea from Rayo Vallecano in the summer of 2012.
- He enjoyed a dream Premier League start at QPR, scoring twice in a 5-0 rout.
- The immediate buzz around Michu saw him described him as ‘elegant’, ‘lethal’ and ‘swaggering’.
- There were further strikes in successive games against West Ham and Sunderland followed by goals aginst Crawley, Reading, Wigan, Newcastle and West Brom.
- In December Michu put two past Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny to hand the Swans one of their most famous wins in the Premier League.
- In January 2013, Michu was rewarded for his performances with a new four-year contract.
- He was on the score sheet again in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
- In the Wembley final against Bradford City, he ensured his place in Swans history by scoring the second goal that effectively settled the match in a 5-0 win.
- Michu finished with 22 goals in 43 appearances at the end of 2012/13.
- He won the club’s Player of the Year award though he harshly missed out on inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year.
The Tercera itself has 18 groups, with Langreo in the same division as Real Oviedo’s B side. His brother, Hernán Pérez Cuesta was the man in charge of the amateur team and with the support of the club and his family, Michu went about trying to find some level of fitness.
Recovering enough to sign for Oviedo on a free after a year, it was last summer that the forward finally returned home. However, it was far from a fairytale as only 12 of his 27 La Liga 2 games were starts and he only managed three goals in all competitions last season. And news of his fitness struggles were confirmed this week.
“The current state of Michu’s right ankle makes it very difficult for him to take part in any sport,” said a spokesman for the player.
“He now finds it impossible to continue his profession as a footballer. After seeking medical advice, he has decided to abandon the sport. He will instead pursue a career in coaching football.”
They say it only takes a second to score a goal, the game can change in the blink of an eye and careers can go from the top to nothing in an instant. Michu’s tale is one of caution. Enjoy the highs, but never forget the lows can be closer than you think.
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