Ruben Gracia Calmache, better known as Cani, never got the sendoff from the then-El Madrigal he deserved, having been frozen out by Marcelino.
He deserves better. I never met him, but by all accounts he was just a big kid, loved playing the game.....so perhaps it’s not surprising he ran into problems with Marcelino’s compulsive micromanagement.
The photo above was taken after we defeated Almeria to gain promotion, of course. It’s special to me for two reasons: first is has our banner in the background, always good; second, Cani is holding a water bottle, which reminds me of.....the match against Real Madrid, January 2011, in the Bernabeu. Cani opened the scoring that day but ended up getting sent off (some ten minutes after being substituted) for throwing a water bottle at Mourinho and generally complaining about the sort of refereeing decisions Madrid always get at home. But then, Cani always loved to complain about decisions. Again, sort of like a little kid.
Here is what I wrote about him when we transferred him to Depor:
“Cani was always something of an enigma--at times, he could be a world-beater, at times, he was a petulant player who made little impact on matches. He was always close to being international level, didn't make it; while other Villarreal players like Borja Valero, Giuseppe Rossi, etc. got a lot of transfer interest, Cani never did. He averaged just over 2000 minutes most seasons, was often substituted out of matches at around the 75-minute mark.”