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Player Focus: Dani Parejo Turning Things Around at Valencia

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Player Focus: Dani Parejo Turning Things Around at Valencia

 

From boo-boy to top of the class - few players have experienced a role reversal quite like that of Dani Parejo at Valencia. In 2012, while in his first season with the club, he was singled out by fans as a target of their frustration. Now in 2014, he’s one of very few players giving those exact fans some hope.

 

His winner against Elche last weekend came as no surprise to those who have been watching Parejo regularly this term. An 8.10 rating in the 2-1 victory saw him pick up his 3rd WhoScored Man of the Match award in La Liga this season, a figure exceeded by no fellow teammate. Rumours of a big money move have surfaced, which is not surprising giving his form and Valencia’s label as a selling club.

 

With Éver Banega and Fernando Gago both pushed out the door, there was a need for someone to guide the often unsteady Valencia ship. Few people believed Parejo to be the player capable of such a task. One article referred to him as a “bloodless player”; blood being a term often used in Spanish football to describe someone committed and imposing on the field.

 

Now however, to Valencia’s reward, no one imposes himself quite like Parejo. The key has perhaps been a simple case of continuity. With Banega and Gago around - plus Sergio Canales to an extent - Parejo found it difficult at first to break through. Being handed a few minutes here and there was never going to allow him to shine. He needed that familiarity with his teammates, so he could build up an on-field relationship with them and learn how to unleash their qualities to the fullest extent. 

 

Player Focus: Dani Parejo Turning Things Around at Valencia

 

From a positional perspective too, Parejo has been afforded a change. Instead of a defensive midfielder propping up others, he’s been playing in a more advanced role and been allowed to dictate play in the final third. WhoScored shows too that when played in this role, Parejo scores a better rating. This season when used as an attacking midfielder he has scored a 7.63 rating, a sharp contrast to the 7.38 when in defensive midfield.

 

Parejo’s current overall rating of 7.44 – the highest at Valencia this season and 15th best in La Liga overall – is a stark contrast from last season, when he ended the season on 7.02. In the Europa League meanwhile he has carried on his fine domestic form, with a rating of 7.45 only being topped by one other player. Parejo’s improvement simply can’t be ignored.

 

Last season Parejo managed 49.1 passes per game on average, and although that was still the most at the club, it is nowhere near his current mark. With 64.7 key passes per game on average this season in La Liga, no on even comes close at Valencia in terms of passing influence, while he also maintains an impressive accuracy rating of 87.4%. The indecision in his game has all but vanished, and instead Parejo is imposing his style on games. Perhaps the clearest indication of this was against Barcelona, with his team level at 1-1 at half-time. Parejo came out of the dressing room as if possessed, grabbing his team by the scruff of the neck and urging them not to be intimidated by the Camp Nou or the team that inhabits it. A player labelled ‘bloodless’, turning on the style and offering steel in the most grand of environments. Juan Antonio Pizzi deployed two defensive midfielders allowing Parejo to focus on turning the game around, and he did exactly that, weighing in with a goal and proving decisive as Valencia carved out an unforeseen victory.

 

Player Focus: Dani Parejo Turning Things Around at Valencia

 

Parejo’s ability now to pick holes in opposing defences is refreshing to see, especially for a player who hardly carries the demeanour of a devastating playmaker. His vision and ability to read the game have become invaluable. Take, for instance, his 2.2 key passes per game this season in La Liga, which is more than any other player at Valencia and a significant increase on his 1.4 from 2012/13. Only four players have averaged more key passes per game in La Liga this season, and two of them are Lionel Messi and Ivan Rakitic – such integral attacking figures for their respective teams. It’s these sorts of names Parejo now finds himself alongside, such has been his level of performance and consistency too. The variation in his passing game makes him such a threat, a player not content with only stroking about neat and short passes, with his 5.2 accurate long balls per game and 1.4 crosses per game showing he can hurt opponents in a variety of manners.

 

Parejo gives the Valencia midfield a much-needed balance, as he judges the duties between attacking and defensive transitions adeptly. Take for instance his 1.5 dribbles per game this season, showing the confidence to carry the ball and take the game to opponents. WhoScored labels Parejo’s dribbling as very strong when it comes to his player characteristics. This is balanced out by WhoScored also rating his ‘defensive contribution’ as a strength. Parejo is currently managing 2.4 tackles per game and 1.6 interceptions. Although integrated with the attack more these days, the 25-year-old is by no means disregarding his defensive output – in fact in both of the aforementioned areas Parejo is bettering his statistics from last season.

 

Maybe we all should’ve listened to Alfredo Di Stefano when it comes to Dani Parejo. The Real Madrid legend remarked in 2007 that Parejo was the best player in their cantera at the time, branding him a phenomenon with a fine future. The story extends further too, with a rumour that Di Stefano even went so far as to stop attending Real Madrid Castilla games when Parejo was eventually sold.

 

Di Stefano maybe saw something many people didn’t, but at least now with a trip to Mestalla, they can do.

 

How great a rise has Parejo's been? Do you rank him amongst the best in La Liga now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

Comments (7)

 
  • He's a really great player, been the driving force behind Valencia this season. Long may it continue.

  • Parejo is one of the best midfielders in the world , he must be with Spain national team at the world cup .

  • I think they will be like Atletico in a couple of seasons. Would love for La Liga to be a 4 horse race with, Real, Barca, Atletico and Valencia all challenging for the league. I'm playing as Valencia on football Manager now, and Parejo scored 15 goals and 19 assist last season. Valencia have a great young team, it's only a matter of time before they are challenging again.

  • Thoroughly enjoyed this lovely article David.. Parejo is another gem at mestella among bernat , alcacer , fede , piatti , feghouli , vargas etc... I wouldnt' rank him among best yet but surely one of the most talented out there..Djukic put them a season back , i expect them to rise next season under pizzi for CL places and all the new ownership about to take the reigns

  • Di Stefano told about him (when he played in Real Madrid youth) that he was "the best player of the youth team of Real Madrid". He plays very clear and has a huge skill with the ball. He sees slots in the opposing defense that nobody can seem. His problem, apart his "lack of blood" was his life out of the pich. He had a lot of problems with a girl, some vitals disorders and a big lack of concentration. In this moment is very important in Valencia game and I expect that he continue being happy in his life in order to he improve like footballer and he can succeed in La Liga and in the future, who knows, in the Spanish National Team.

  • Amazing article david. He certainly is a driving force for valencia alongside alcacer.. Pizzi has shown what a experienced ingenuine chap he is..i wont be surprised if they make to CL places if they dont lose any players. I'm sure they wont because they are being bought in a month or so , instead more talented players shall arrive.. Vs Sevilla , Parejo is gonna be a key figure. He needs to be slightly more consistent imo to be among top 7

  • As a la fabrica product we want him to succeed wherever he is. Yes he is among top players in liga who can get better as he ages.

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Monreal Mathis Bolly Maynor Figueroa Craig Gardner Marko Basa Mirko Vucinic Steven Taylor Inigo Martinez Leon Osman Man City Bologna Ben Foster John Ruddy Patric Evra Matija Nastasic Javi Garcia Lucas Moura Michel Bastos Roberto Di Matteo John Arne Riise Gareth McAuley Innocent Emeghara Siena Carlos Cuellar Javier Zanetti Michele Canini Zdenek Pospech Sergio Garcia Damien Duff Yoan Gouffran Giuseppe Biava Hilton Nicola Legrottaglie Magno Macedo Novaes Daniel Aranzubia Antonio Conte Andrea Ranocchia per Mertesacker Manucho Leo Nils Petersen Cyril Thereau Adam Szalai Pavel Pogrebnyak Roman Neustadter Daniele Conti Milan Badelj Gerhard Tremmel Daniel Agger Kyle Nauhgton Zoltan Gera Brett Holman Adriano Joe Allen Youssuf Mulumbu Premier League. Luis Suarez Federico Peluso Jamel Saihi Gustavo Cabral Wakaso Daniele Gastaldello Danilo David Pizarro loris Nery Hugo Mallo Gotoku Sakai Andre Wisdom Andre Schürrle Mousa Dembélé Hamburger SV Rafael van der Vaart Rene Adler Sean Morrison Juan Jesus Frederik Sorensen Nicolas Isimat-Mirin Joel Matip Barry Bannan Nicky Shorey Luca Cigarini Andrea Consigli Jordan Ayew Ajaccio Carl Medjani Ricardo Faty Jerome Rothen Takashi Inui Takashi Usami Steven Pienaar Tolgay Arslan Loris Nery Wissam Ben Yeder Angelo Ogbonna Yoann Gouffran Marc Planus Ludovic Obraniak Emanuel Herrera Anthony Mounier Daniel Congre Pablo Hernandez Arda Gueida Fofana Arnold Mvuemba Steed Malbranque Nuri Sahin Kwadwo Asamoah Christian Maggio Henri Saivet Massadio Haidara Jean-Christophe Bahebeck Mladen Petric Real Betis Riccardo Montolivo Lucio Christophe Jallet Gokhan Inler Ilkay Gundogan Marvin Martin Steeve Elana Alain Traore Renaud Cohade Geoffrey Dernis Daniel Avles Patrick Helmes Raobin van Persie Pablo Armero Rondon Fabio Borini Patrick Herrmann Jonathan Scmid Kostantinos Fortounis Vincent Pajot Josua Guilavogui Idrissa Gana Gueye Ezequiel Munoz Nene Oliver Sorg Davide Brivio Sebastian Larsson Franceso Totti Tom Trybull M'Baye Niang Jean Daniel Akpa Akpro Matias Silvestre Euro 2012 Olof Mellberg Crisitano Ronaldo Alvaro Arbeloa Sebastian Boenisch Alan Dzagoev Andrey Arshavin Michael Krohn-Dehli Vaclav Pilar Theodor Gebre Selassie Gordon Schildenfeld Greece Miguel Veloso Mark Davies David Hoilett Santiago Garcia Marco Rignoni Vicente Guaita Michael Rensing Paul Robinson Fabien Audard Thomas Vermaelen Younes Belhanda Aurelien Chedjou Nancy St. Etienne Lukas Piszczek Dante Gijon Claudio Pizzaro Racing Santander Jonas Hannover Santander Claudio Pizarro Cesena David Jarolim Joe Cole Moussa Dembele Yakubu Javier Hernandez Leon Best Benat Kaiserslautern Christian Tiffert Paolo De Ceglie Federico Balzaretti Jeremey Menez Juan MGladbach Andreas Ivanschitz Jires Kembo-Ekoko Guillaume Hoarau Florent Malouda Steve Gohouri Kenwyne Jones Lecce Stephen Ireland Jakub Blaszcykowski Christian Fuchs Chievo Sloan Privat Abraham Guie Guie Louis Saha Martin Harnik German Bundesliga Grant Holt Ali Al-Habsi Ludovic Sane Aldo Angoula Younes Kaboul Brest Marcelo Stiliyan Petrov mathieu Valbuena Tono Ramirez Gianluca Buffon Emile Heskey John Utaka Markus Rosenborg Marko Arnautovic Jonathan Biabiany Andrea Caracciolo Evian Thonon Gaillard Mohammed Abdellaoue Dijon Anton Ferdinand Fabricio Coloccini Betting Eric Mouloungui Cedric Bakambu Gregory Pujol Eduardo Ribeiro Sebastien Larsson Nolan Roux Bradley Johnson Jamie O'Hara Wes Brown Jason Lowe Jose Enrique Anders Lindegaard Mark Schwarzer Cheik Tiote Alberto Aquilani Danny Murphy Martin O'Neill Modibo Maiga OGC Nice Perparim Hetemaj Alejandro Faurlin Leon Britton Antonio Nocerino Maximiliano Moralez Claudio Marchisio Marco Rigoni Simone Pepe Heidar Helguson Mark Gower Blackburn Emanuele Calaiò Zlatan Ibrahimović Germán Denis Jose Jurado Nicolas Anelka Edgar Barreto Alexandre Song Shaun Wright-Phillips Nicolas Maurice-Belay Jhon Jairo Culma Kevin Anin Sebastien Corchia Kevin Theophile-Catherine FC Cologne Julien Feret Jaroslav Plasil Yann Jouffre Tomas Rincon Kevin Davies Giampiero Pinzi Tamas Hajnal Camel Meriem Frederic Bulot Gokhan Tore AS Nancy Gabriel Torje Lynel Kitambala Florent Sinama-Pongolle Idriss Saadi Oscar Trejo Botelho Juanlu Axel Bellinghausen Gonzalo Castro Andrea Cossu Marcel Schafer Marco Hoger Timothy Chandler Bolton Wanderers Ivan Klasnic Paris St Germain Wolverhampton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Javi Varas Blackburn Rovers Stephan Lichtsteiner Anotnio Cassano Scott Sinclair Nenad Milijas Anatoliy Tymoshchuk Luis Gustavo Ruud van Nistelrooy Benoit Cheyrou Lucho Gonzalez League Analysis Walter Samuel Christian Chivu AS Roma Stephen Warnock Martin Kelly Gary Caldwell Karl Henry Kevin Doyle England National Football Team Javi Venta Vicente Iborra Sergio Ballesteros Bobby Zamora Jonas Gutierrez Dariusz Dudka Youssouf Hadji Christian Abbiati Alvaro Dominguez Phil Neville Senad Lulic Filip Daems Ezequiel Schelotto Victor Ruiz Jonathan Pereira Anthony Reveillere Santiago Gentiletti Cheikh Diabate Nicolas Spolli Luciano Fabian Monzon Mauricio Isla Ignazio Abate Titus Bramble Leroy Lita Christian Lell Philipp Wollscheid Milivoje Novakovic Tottenhman Hotspur Johan Cavalli Eliseu Serdar Tasci Ryan Babel Aleksandar Ignjovski Chechu Dorado Djamel Mesbah Arsenal Swansea Ashely Williams Piscu Eden Dzeko Emmerson Boyce Auxerre Phil Bardsley Jose Bosingwa Gretar Steinsson Mattia Cassani Jonathan Woodgate Germany National Football Team Gasperini Mauro Zarate Diego Forlan Estaban Cambiasso Juraj Kucka Marco Faraoni Joel Obi Benedikt Howedes Clemens Fritz Chris Lowe Daniel van Buyten Albania Yann M’Vila Baptiste Reynet Angelo Palombo Eric Tie Bi Chris Mavinga Aaron Hughes Chris Baird Raul Aly Cissokho Alessandro Del Piero France National Football Team Marc Tierney Bundelsiga Raul Bobadilla Loric Remy Jean Pascal Mignot Mainz 05 Schalke 04 Marcel Risse Steven Reid Danny Gabbidon Michal Kadlec Paulo Machado Ben Watson Spain National Football Team German National Football Team Bundeslgia Ricardo Carvalho Ivan Ramis Diego Colotto Sergio Fernandez Sere A Cesare Bovo Miguel Britos Bostjan Cesar Jose Angel Gabriel Heinze Chris Samba Charles N'Zogbia Yohan Demont Rod Fanni Rudy Mater Georgios Tzavellas Javier Pinola Dennis Aogo Daniel Schwaab Attacking Full-Backs Defensive Wingers 2010/11 Attacking Wingers Nicolas Douchez Under-21 Team of Season 2010-11 Maxi Rodriguez Scott Dann Crossing Wingers Under-21 Team of Season All-Round Midfielders Benoit Pedretti Rising Stars Kyle Walker Gaetano D'Agostino Centre Backs Paulo Da Silva Ivan Hernandez Eric Abidal Weligton Borja Ekiza Alassane Toure Stephane Grichting Jordan Loties Kader Mangane Adama Coulibaly Pedro Geromel Neven Subotic Christian Zapata Roger Johnson Stephan Lichsteiner Reto Ziegler David Vaughan Seb Larsson Asamoah Gyan Benoit Pedretti Anthony Mounier Simao Duda Alvaro Cejudo Xabi Prieto Alexsandar Kolarov Guiseppe Mascara Simone Bentivoglio Fernando Marques Gian Piero Gasperin Thomas Hitzlsperger Rafael Van der Vaart Theofanis Gekas Gerard Asamoah Youssef Al Arabi Lisandro Loric Remy Victor Hugo Montano Edison Cavani Sergio Pellissier David Di Michele Steward Downing Spain Under 21 Felipe Caicedo Pierre Webo Youssef El-Arabi Brown Ideye Mobido Maiga Chu-Young Robin Van Persie Kevin Gamerio Udinese. Alexis Sanchez Sami Allagui Frédéric Kanouté Renato Augusto Jonathan Pitropia Eljero Elia Ivo Llicevic Diego Perez Alvaro González Abel Hernandez David VIlla Marcel Schmelzer Danijel Pranjic Holger Badstuber Sven Bender Johan Djourou Darren Fletcher Carlos Kameni Thiago Silve Antonia Di Natale Cristiano Zapata Domenico Criscito Luis Jimenez Josep Ilicic Samuel Eto’o Alexis Thébaux Ludovic Sané Mamouda Sakho Boukary Dramé Daniel Alves Nikolay Mihaylov Charles Puyol Ji-Sung Park Edwin van der Sar Dani Alves John O’Shea Park Ji-Jung Gabi Fernandez Jonathan de Guzman Michael Owen Gary Taylor-Fletcher Ian Evatt DJ Campbell Charles N’Zogbia Wolverhampton Avram Grant Conor Sammon Wayne Bridge Rob Green Victor Obinna Mike Hanke Borussia Munchengladbach VfL Bochum Tomasz Kuszczak Martin Olsson Brett Emerton Steven N’Zonzi Muset Ozil Gianpaolo Pazzini Leonardo Seydou Keita Miguel Pallardo Ibrahim Afellay Valdo Pallardo Damien Perquis Luka Modrid David SIlva Benoit Assou-Ekotto Vedran Corluka Saloman Kalou Clarence Seedorf Matteo Brighi Fabio Simplicio Rodrigo Taddei Mark Van Bommel Gennaro Gattuso Kevin Prince-Boateng Nicolas Burdisso Elkin Soto Pep Gaurdiola Lassana Diarra Antonio da Silva Robert Mak Heurelho Gomes Andre Marriner Pinto Alavro Arbeloa Alexander Hleb

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