If you were to describe thirty one year old left back Raul Bravo, only one word could be applied; journeyman. If you were to expand that, it would have to include the following; not played nearly enough games in his career.
Unfortunately for Bravo, he came through the ranks at Real Madrid (hang on, let me finish!) but was forever in the shadow of one of the greatest left backs of our generation: Roberto Carlos. This obviously restricted his development in the first team at Estadio Bernabeu, and he only made seventy seven appearances in the six years he was in the senior squad. He spent some time on loan at Leeds United, then in the Premier League, but if you ask any Leeds supporter about him, you won’t hear many good things! If they can even remember him that is!
In 2007, Gandia born Bravo moved to Greece to play for Olympiacos in a £2.5 million transfer. Unfortunately, his first two seasons in Piraeus were hampered by injury and he only made thirteen appearances before moving back to Spain, on loan at Numancia. However, he only made six appearances for the team, making little impact as the club were relegated to Segunda in 2009. He returned to Greece at the start of the 2009-10 season, and after impressing in preseason, earned the starting role at left back. He enjoyed the season, making thirty two appearances, but was again restricted the following season, with just eighteen games to his name. He was released at the age of thirty in 2011, after winning his second Greek league title.
He came back to Madrid, signing for newly promoted Rayo Vallecano for the 2011-12 season, but he only made half a dozen appearances as he yet again failed to establish himself, and left the club after one season. He now finds himself in Belgium, playing for Beerschot in the top flight. He has made eight appearances at the time of this article being written, his fifth highest appearance stat of his career. He is currently injured, having torn a calf muscle while at full sprint and with nobody near him. This will keep him out for at least four weeks.
For a player who has been playing for twelve years, his appearance stats are shockingly low. So far, he has played in only 165 senior competitive matches. He does also have fourteen caps for Spain, the last of which came in Spain’s disastrous Euro 2004 campaign. However, for a player who has so few appearances, he has an impressive medal haul. This includes two league titles in both Spain and Greece, two Spanish Supercopas, one European Supercup, and a UEFA Champions League! Not bad for a hundred and sixty odd career matches!