Angel Rangel reflects on his latest Swansea City milestone

6th April

He may have reached another personal milestone at Swansea City, but Angel Rangel already has his sights set on his next target.

Rangel has recently joined the likes of team-mates Leon Britton and Ashley Williams to have amassed 300+ league appearances for the club and city he calls home.

Rangel, though, is not one to rest on his achievements.

While reflecting on his Swansea City service over nine years, his focus quickly moves to the next achievement on his list.

"I have another year left on my contract here, and I would love to give ten years' service to this special club. That would mean a lot to me," says the 33-year-old.

"The club has been very good to me and I hope I've been a really good servant to the club too. We have been great for each other."

It has indeed proved a perfect fit.

His time in SA1 has experienced nothing but success, starting with a League One winner's medal in his first season. That same season he was named in the division's team of the year.

And it is that season which he highlights as the most important of his career.

"The most important season was my first one here. I arrived from the lower divisions in Spain and it was a huge change - the physicality, the tempo, the facilities," says Rangel.

"I played 52 games in my first season. We had the league matches and were involved in three cups. It was a big change.

"I had a hernia operation near the end of that season because of the sheer amount of games and the effect that had on my body. I just wasn't used to it.

"But it was worth it as we won the League One title. That season changed my career.

 "You have to adapt, and having a Spanish manager in Roberto (Martinez) was a big help at the start.

"The style of play in the last nine years has been keeping the ball and playing quick and short passes, which has suited me. Off the ball we press hard when we lose possession, and the players have enjoyed that during my time here.

"If it had been any different then I wouldn't be here talking about playing 300 league games, because my style wouldn't have suited the team, and vice versa."

Rangel's arrival was, little did he know at the time, at the beginning the Swans' football revolution.

A key figure in the club's rise through the ranks, he has proved a regular figure for the man in charge to depend on.

It could have been such a different career path for Rangel.

At the time he was spotted playing in the lower leagues in Spain, he was studying economics.

He laughs when reminded he was identified by a Swansea scout was actually running the rule over an opposition player.

"This stat comes as a surprise to me because time has gone so quickly," he reflects.

"It's a fantastic achievement for me. I arrived here not really knowing if I would play 30 league games let alone 300.

"All that changed when I came here. My life changed, and it couldn't have worked out any better for me.

"Before I came to Swansea I changed clubs a lot because I wanted to learn and improve from different coaches and players.

"Then I found the right club."

During his time at the Liberty, Rangel has experienced three promotions, a League Cup victory, a Europa League campaign - including captaining the side during the 3-0 win at Valencia - and a record-breaking league campaign.

But you get the sense each and every success through his nine years in Swansea means just the same - no matter which level it was at.

"When you hit milestones like this it gives you a nice opportunity to reflect," he adds.

"We have special memories of winning promotion from League One when people said that we wouldn't get anywhere playing pretty football.

"Funnily enough, I think we were tipped to get relegated. That year we won League One by a good margin.

"I was named in the League One team of the season and that meant a lot to me, and still does. So too does being included in the Football League team of the decade. I've not won many medals as a footballer, but things like that give you great satisfaction.

"Then, in the Championship, we were told we had no chance - 'Swansea playing their pretty football won't get them anywhere'. We were tipped to go down, again.

"I think getting promoted via the play-offs in the manner we did shows the quality footballers we had in our squad and people started to take a bit of notice of us.

"But even that didn't stop us from getting labelled as the bookmakers' favourites to go down. I remember someone saying we would have record low points tally in the Premier League.

"We didn't too badly that year either, funnily enough. We finished 11th, beat Manchester City - who would go on to win the title - along with Arsenal and Liverpool.

"So we've been used to defying the odds and the opinions of the expert pundits."

Giving the success he's enjoyed during those numerous battles since swapping Spain for Swansea, you wouldn't bet against Rangel reaching his next milestone.

Tomorrow, we bring the second part of our interview with Angel as he discusses his memorable league moments.