Looking for something to celebrate the Europa League title?

Would you like to wear, drink out of, or go to the beach with the title in your mind, forever? We’ve put together some products thanks to tyhe folks at Spring, so you can always remember that beautiful, beautiful day.

Check out the store!

The products include clothes with the names of the local radio team, the quotes from Javi Mata as he called out De Gea’s penalty and Rulli’s save, and some other highlights of the final and what it means to be a Villarreal and Vila-real local, really.

I have kept the profits to the minimum seeing as what I want is for people to be able to enjoy these, more than make money out of them. I’ll actually be, as soon as some orders arrive, doing some drawings to send some of this merchandise out. Stay tuned!

Endavant!

Our very first “Hablando con Humanos”: Exclusive chat with Juan Carlos Garrido, previous Villarreal manager.

In the series “Hablando con Humanos,” VillarrealNews attempts to go beyond the sport and look into the people behind it, the good and the bad of living for it, and with an aim to chat rather than find the headline.

Our very first is an excluve interview with Juan Carlos Garrido, the last manager who led Villarreal in the Champions League, but also someone who worked for the club for over ten years in many roles.

The interview is in Spanish, but we will transcribe the bulk of it for our English readers later this week.

Enjoy!

Jose Manuel Llaneza: “The door is open, and we are in. Nobody is kicking us out now”

[Villarreal News] And, last but not least, here is the third interview Mediterraneo produced post-Europa League final: The Vice-president of Villarreal and a man who has been at the club even longer than Fernando Roig–Jose Manuel Llaneza. Credit goes to Mediterraneo, and Ismael Mateu, for the actual interview. Curated translation from yours truly.

Ismael Mateu: So many years of suffering and working hard, and at last, the reward.

Jose Manuel Llaneza: The reward came 23 years ago, when we got promoted for the first time, back when nobody counted on us. We have made it all the way here. That is impressive–in the way we have done it, the style, and for having beaten two English teams that seemed to be running away with it. We crashed their party and did it on the pitch; and outside too–our fans were louder than Manchester’s.

IM: And beyond that, beating the champions of Croatia, the champions of the Ukraine, two teams from two countries’ capitals, all of them against a village…

JML: And Salzburg, with the entire Red Bull team behind them. I mean, it has not been easy. Perhaps the group stage was a bit weaker but we always ended up having to travel 6,000, 7,000 kilometers. 

IM: This speaks of the growth of Villarreal, as an entity and as a project. 

JML: Check this out–I think in the final we had eight or nine youth players, between those who played, and those who didn’t. I don’t know what other teams can say this; very few can–on top of that, having lifted the trophy.  

IM: People are not realizing that along with Villarreal, there are only four other Spanish Europa/UEFA champions, ever. Barcelona doesn’t have it, even though they have a “Fairs Cup.”

JML: And there isn’t a single city of 50,000 people that has a European title, because the two smaller than Vila-real who made it, Monaco and Bastia, did not win the final. KV Mechelen is the closest, but that’s a population of 70,000. 

IM: I heard you on TV and you were speaking about Roig Negueroles, about the work of everyone as a group, the collective effort, and that you all have inherited the club in this stage.

JML: I think Villarreal is an idea, and that idea is the one we are carrying out; evidently we need to improve it, polish it, and change a few things sometimes. The father is the one who has created this idea, and the son is the one who is carrying it out in an extraordinary way. 

IM: Is the secret to care for the youth system and to make the right decisions when you strengthen the team?

JML: On top of all that, the secret is daily work. Here, for instance, we’ve had veteran players come this season, and they all feel like home, like family. That is impressive. 

IM: And what about Pay Francisco Torres?

JML: Pau being from here, arriving when he was four or five, and where he is right now…it’s an amazing thing. 

IM: And there is also a player who was here, who had to leave and go to Mallorca and Espanyol, and who now is a world star…

JML: For me, I think Gerard was the best player in La Liga this season. I don’t give a crap who they give that award, I don’t care. I have been in this sport too many years and I know what this player has done; on top of that, he is a phenomenal person, as is his family, his father, his wife, everyone. As a person he is a 10, but in terms of his leadership, he is a 10 and a half. 

IM: I think about it and he has the leadership of Totti, Messi; those players who were not just strikers and goalscorers, but those who’d drop back, receive the ball, get involved. It’s insane how much he has grown. 

JML: It cost us a lot of money to bring him back from Espanyol, but I think he is one of the biggest successes in the history of this club. 

IM: And it was a choice of betting for someone who was already from here…

JML: Yes, well–circumstances were that he left, and thankfully we kept 50% of his transfer; otherwise, it would have been even harder. 

IM: You were talking about 23 years of work. That is the most beautiful thing, I suppose. What was the hardest part?

JML: The last relegation. It was just unbelievable to be relegated in the last minute of the season, after not having been in relegation spots at all. But that happens, it happens. 

IM: Above all, because the project was one to compete in the Champions League.

JML: Yes, but Giuseppe Rossi got injured in October, and the year before, he had scored over 30 goals in all competitions. From then on we didn’t know what to do, we did not make the right decisions, we did not think about that replacement long and hard, and we trusted some players who did not perform. But those things happen, we learned very fast from all that, we gave chances to the youth players, and that decision rewarded us back. 

IM: Tou were saying that Villarreal will continue to be up there…

JML: First, we have an amazing thing, which is the European Supercup in August. After that, we get to be in the Champions League, in group 1. Let’s see if we have a bit more luck than last time, but we will be there. 

IM: And you have also said that Villarreal has not made a final as a matter of anecdote, and that it will keep growing to remain in this elite status. 

JML: No doubt about it. I think the door has opened, and we are in. Nobody is kicking us out now. 

Villarreal’s Early June Transfer Round-up: Who is on the way in?

Ah, summer. The time of the year where in a lot of countries, temperatures shoot up, people take vacation, and the beach takes protagonism. In this sport, summer means teams are buying and selling everyone, rumors never end, and there are always surprises. Ask Carlo in Madrid. Or ask James Rodriguez in Everton, who saw Carlos himself convince him to join the English team from Real Madrid, to then watch the manager himself go back to the capital of Spain.

Life happens, James.

Let’s go through what we are hearing from local outlets in terms of players coming in, potentially, likely or confirmed, to Vila-real.

  • Aissa Mandi will join the club once his contract is up, and the transfer is all but confirmed. The Argelian center back joins on a free and will fight for a spot in the defense in a year that will feature 55+ matches. Aissa will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself, especially with Albiol turning 36 in September. He played basically everything for Betis this season, starting in 30 matches for Pellegrini all the way up to when the transfer leaked.
  • With the center of the defense covered unless there are exits, the club is looking first for a left winger, and a striker. Beyond that, transfers out will determine transfers in. On the left side, there are a few names being printed out: Guedes at Valencia, who has made clear his desire to leave the capital of the Valencian Community, and could see a move to Champions League’s Villarreal as a good one. Others, like Udinese’s Deulofeu, or Amine Harit, from now-relegated Schalke 04, are in the cards.
  • Fulham’s Andre-Zambo Anguissa is also being rumored as a possibility for the midfield. Even though we are overloaded in this position, the Cameroonian wants to leave a team that is now officially in the Championship in England, but the cost of over 20 Million Euros is a roadblock. Unless there is a negotiation, the cost will be too high, again, with plenty of options on midfield.
  • In the striker position, the Bakambu option is still top of mind. The 30-year-old has made clear he wants to come back to Vila-real, even talking to the Managing Director Fernando Roig Negueroles and telling him he wanted to “Come back to Vila-real and become the club’s top overall scorer.” Cedric ends his contract with Beijing Guoan in six months, and the Chinese club is trying to get some money out of the transfer before that happens–but is attempting a 40 Million Euro operation, which is unrealistic for a player, again, ending his contract in 180 days. Regardless, the striker is a real option for Villarreal.
  • Something that came to light yesterday is interest from several teams, Villarreal included, for Spanish right back Hector Bellerin. The 26-year-old is interested in leaving London, and a return to Spain could be an option. The Spaniard makes around 6 Million Euros per season, something completely out of market for Villarreal, but especially if Peña leaves and Hector is willing to take a cut in his paycheck, the transfer could be an option. Personally, his injury record is a problem for me (he’s missed 45 matches in the past three seasons), especially with Alberto Moreno showing us what can happen to a player who tends to get injured (very few appearances in two years), but Hector would be, without a doubt, a great player to have.
  • Back from loan are coming several players, but only a few are staying with the team this summer. The list of players returning includes Cuenca, Martin, Ontiveros, Morlanes, Franquesa, and others. As of right now, Cuenca is the only one who is expected to remain in the first team, and the others are in the air–including Morlanes, a very talented midfielder with a lot of interest in other teams, Almeria in pole position as the team that enjoyed him on loan. The Andalusian club could buy the player through a clause in the loan contract. Almeria considers Morlanes a key player for the team, and will try to keep him for next season. Morlanes also doesn’t have the blessing from Emery to come to the first team 100%, so we could see the 22-year-old from Zaragoza actually leave Vila-real. I personally feel that Manuel can do the job, and should stay here in a season with four competitions. We shall see.

Latest news

  • This week marks the seventh anniversary of the club’s promotion back to the First Division. A season of ups and downs, from the sudden passing of Preciado when he had been already appointed the manager of Villarreal in the project to come back to the top, to the trust Fernando Roig Negueroles, in his first year in charge of the project, put in Marcelino to take the spot and get the team promoted, and to 10,000 fans in Barcelona, taking the Mini Estadi of Barcelona B and all but ensuring promotion through that win.
  • Javier Calleja’s Alaves is reportedly interested in both Dani Raba and Ontiveros for the next season in La Liga. The ex-Manager of Villarreal needs to strengthen his team in order not to suffer as much as they did this season to avoid relegation, and these two players could be in the cards for the team from the North of Spain, although the specifics of a loan or transfer would have to be worked out.
  • Multiple outlets are now reporting that Ruben Peña and Funes Mori are in the market to be transferred out. Especially the center back, now with Mandi and Cuenca as part of the first team, has a lot of options to leave this summer.
  • Yeremy Pino and Raul Albiol are now part of the parallel bubble of the National team of Spain in case more COVID-19 cases become a reality within the first team. One can argue whether waiting in a B-list is good or bad for our players, as they likely will not play but also be unable to take a longer vacation, but I’m sure for folks like Pino, this is a step in the right direction after featuring in the Under-21 team, and for others like Albiol, the reward to an outstanding season.
  • Villarreal’s youth team won the Liga Promises last week, the young talent tournament the club hosted, and which united the top youth teams in the country in Vila-real this summer. Villarreal beat Sevilla 0-2 to lift the trophy.

Villarreal’s Early June Transfer Round-up: Who is on the way out?

The pre-season is underway! Even though the club has preached throughout the week the need to enjoy the Europa League trophy and Villarreal’s only title to date, management and Emery are already working on the ins and outs of strengthening the team for an amazing, exciting, demanding season with up to four competitions to be played. 

As Managing Director Fernando Roig Negueroles told local radio earlier this week, “Our transfer objectives, and the budget that goes along with it, changes every day or so.” Transfer targets come into frame, stay or go, are impacted by other transfers around it, and the need to adapt, pivot constantly, and have several options at all times is as present as ever. This is true especially at a time where clubs are financially unable to make big splurges in cash for other players. At the same time, those clubs understand that this season is probably one of the worst summers to sell, with everyone strapped for cash, and fans unable to fully access the stadiums and bring revenue. 

At Villarreal News, we bring you the compilation of what we have been capturing through local news in the past weeks, so that you don’t skip a beat. Today, we will discuss the players on the way out. If you are interested in what Villarreal is thinking about doing this summer, read on!

The list of people who are leaving Villarreal is probably the most straight-forward of all segments of the transfer window of the Yellow Submarine: there are two players leaving the club, and anything beyond that is not about to be confirmed. 

First, we say goodbye to Jaume Costa. Jaume has spent over ten years in Vila-real, and with his contract running out, the decision has been made to see him go. Jaume, who actually just got married this week, is approaching the end of his career, and at a time where the left side of the defense is overbooked with Pedraza, Alberto Moreno and Estupiñan, it only makes sense that he go and try to get minutes elsewhere. 

Personally, I feel as Jaume was an exemplary player and member of the team, even playing in unnatural positions when needed, and understanding his impact in the team would come more as a leader than a player. He has played over 300 matches between Villarreal B and the first team, and is one of few players left who was here with the team in the Second Division, and got to lift the Europa League trophy last week. 

An amazing journey and we wish him the best. Chances are he will stay in Spain, and some teams, like Levante, are rumored to be interested.

Carlos Bacca is the other player leaving this season, as the Colombian striker had one more year left in his contract, but club and player have come to an agreement for Villarreal to pay out roughly 250,000 Euros to cancel out that last year, let Bacca leave with his contract under his arm, and find a new replacement. 

Bacca has spent four seasons at Vila-real, and I would say his performance was good, not great. His numbers were not as consistent on average as they were at AC Milan, Sevilla or Brugge. However, through ages 30 to 34, I would say 43 goals in 144 matches is a good tally. Bacca had sporadic, great performances like the most recent hat-trick against his beloved Sevilla, and he leaves first-tier soccer lifting his third Europa League. 

There are rumors of Carlos joining teams like Boca Juniors in South America, or even some interest from Levante as well, but in the end the Colombian will make a decision that makes him most happy, as nearing his 35th birthday this summer, his better playing days are behind him. 

Some outlets are reporting on the possibility of Carlos Peña leaving this summer as well to make way for a new right back on defense, but I believe Emery has in Ruben a player who is versatile, as he can feature on the right and left of the midfield, as well as the right side out back, obviously. Ruben is also someone who, as far as I can tell, does not necessarily complain when he doesn’t play.

Peña is about to turn 30 and has a contract for three more years though, so it could be feasible that the player from Avila tries to get more minutes elsewhere. I personally hope he stays to give us options in a season with roughly 50-60 matches to be played. 

Other players to mention: 

  • 25-year-old right back Miguelon, on loan to Espanyol, is confirmed to be sold to the Catalan team. Espanyol got promoted and executed the 1.6 million Euro option for a player who’s featured for about half the matches this year in Segunda. 
  • Striker Mario Gonzalez, who netted 15 goals in the Portuguese First Division with Tondela this season, is about to join Braga for about 3 million Euro if negotiations end well. I have mentioned I think it’s a mistake to sell him now, as I see a lot of potential in him, but if we are not playing him, we might as well let him go.  
  • Winger Javi Ontiveros is also likely to be on the way out, as the Spaniard does not count for Emery and, after not even playing that much for Huesca, he looks to be on the list to be sold this summer. Javi roughly cost 8 million Euro, and given his performance, I think it will be hard to make up most of that amount. 

Stay tuned, later this week we will update on the players coming in, and the ones rumored to join!

Fernando Roig Negueroles: “We are going to be competitive in all four competitions”

[Villarreal News]: Even though Fernando Roig is the President and face of Villarreal, his son, Fernando Roig Negueroles, is the Managing Director, and the person in charge of the day-to-day, planning, and execution of the strategic plan the President puts forth. Mediterraneo sat down with Negueroles a couple of days ago to chat about the days after the final, and here at Villarrealnews.com, we provide a curated translation of this interview so you can know what Villarreal’s boss had to say. Credit for the actual interview: Ismael Mateu, Periodico Mediterraneo

Ismael Mateu: It was time. This sport owed Villarreal a trophy. Satisfied?

Fernando Roig Negueroles: Yes, for sure. Very happy. A lot of years of work and effort. In the end, winning a title is very hard. I think we are actually the seventh team in Spain who has managed to win a European competition. Since the now extinct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup Zaragoza won, there has not been a new Spanish team who has won a European competition. It is to be proud of, and satisfied with.

IM: And what a tournament, especially with the level of the opposition.

FRN: It is a competition that demands a lot out of each team. We have played against clubs at the top level this season. For instance, Barcelona does not have this title, even if it is because for the most part they play the Champions League. What is true is that winning a European competition of this caliber has a lot of merit. 

IM: Everything is so recent that you probably haven’t digested it yet, but as the days go by, you probably will start to realize what you’ve achieved. 

FRN: It’s still hard to come to terms with it, but I assume in a few days we will start to truly value all this. To do what we did is huge and not everyone can do it. We are very happy.

IM: The road wasn’t easy: Salzburg, Dinamo Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal, and the final against Manchester…

FRN: Yes, the road was a spectacular one. Maybe the group stage wasn’t as hard, but we still had to win the matches; in other seasons we didn’t and went through as the second team in the group.

This year, we got five matches and a draw out of it. The opposition afterwards was top quality, though. I think Salzburg, Dinamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb are not as well known as others, but they made things very hard for us. 

Afterwards came the two big ones: Arsenal and Manchester United. Two big teams from the Premier League. Arsenal is not in its best moment, but they have a great team; and Manchester United, as second placed in the Premier League, and a top-level team. Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are perhaps the three best teams in the world. 

IM: Unai Emery orchestrated this triumph. How important was his arrival?

FRN: The arrival of the manager was important, but I think we need to look at success as a whole, not just the coach. A win like this one should not be given to one person or another. What is true is that Unai has frankly done very well, and not just because he has gotten us a trophy. 

It’s true that in any competition like the Europa League there are difficult moments where someone like him has the experience to overcome them, as it’s been the case on this occasion. He has experienced similar situations in teams like Valencia, Sevilla, PSG or Arsenal, and now has helped us with this great achievement. 

IM: In terms of the project, did you think this was the season where you could win a title?

FRN: The club has demonstrated being able to react to specific moments throughout the season. We always try to put together a good team, and we have been able to adapt to adversity, like Alberto Moreno and Vicente Iborra’s injuries, both long term, and other players who have been mildly injured.

In global terms, the season has been a very good one, even though the seventh La Liga spot is unfair I believe; we think we deserved to have finished higher up. For different reasons, in the end we had to be satisfied with that, but winning the Europa League trophy and qualifying for the Champions League makes up for everything. 

IM: After this success, it’s time to think about the future. This never stops. Which Villarreal will we see next year?

FRN: It is time to rest and enjoy. And of course, after that, start to plan next season to improve the team as much as possible, at the very least to be as competitive of a team as this one is, so we can face all competitions and challenges we have ahead. 

Next year we will play in La Liga, Spanish Cup, Champions League, and European Supercup.  We are going to be competitive in all four competitions, no doubt.

Translated Interview with Fernando Roig: “We want more, and better.”

Villarreal News: Mediterraneo ran a series of interviews post-Europa League final, and at Villarrealnews.com, and giving all the credit to the local newspaper from Castellon, we curate this one-on-one with Fernando Roig as he describes the finals, moments after, and what’s coming next for Villarreal. 

Ismael Mateu: After so many years the title is here. On top of that, the first title is the Europa League. Who is it dedicated to, and who are you remembering right now? 

Fernando Roig: There are so many who are part of the Villarreal family whom we want to share this title with: players, board, all kinds of staff. From the first one to the last one, all those who have come and gone through this club, they all have set the groundwork for achieving this Europa League title.

IM: What portion of this success is Unai Emery’s and the players? 

FR: All of it. We have been lucky to have a great manager and squad to bring this success home. We wanted a winning manager, and Unai Emery is one of them. He has been surrounded by competitive, engaged, winning players. They are something to be proud of. 

IM: What do you think was the key to win this title? 

FR: Honestly, the concept of the group. The team and staff are all one. They are very professional, and have met the expectations perfectly. I have seen a locker that was extremely bought into this project. Now, after this success, it is time to enjoy and celebrate. Everyone who is part of this family has earned that. 

IM: Did you expect to go all the way this season? 

FR: We have always said that we are an ambitious entity, but with our feet on the ground. In this club, the philosophy is always the same one. 

We started with the objective of staying in the First Division; we did that. After that, we needed to qualify to play in Europe next year, and we did that also. Through the European competition we participated in, we wanted to get as far as possible. 

This season, the stars have aligned to achieve an amazing objective: winning the Europa League, and playing in the Champions League; in Group 1 of the drawing as well. On top of that, we will play the Supercup.

IM: The money the club is going to receive for winning the Europa League is important, along with many other benefits. What a reward for this win!

FR: It’s funny, the Europa League has more of a prize than finishing fourth in La Liga, but it’s true that it is very complicated to win it. Beyond the revenue for winning the final, there is also the prize of playing the Champions League next year, and the money for playing in the Supercup and fighting that final, our second final ever. 

IM: That’s right, to the Champions League we go!

FR: For the fourth time in our history we will be in this tournament, and that is a source of pride for the club, the fans, the city of Vila-real, and for the entire province of Castellon.

IM: Do you think that lifting this trophy is the last push needed to transformationally increase our social mass?

FR: The feeling people have in Vila-real and the province of Castellon for Villarreal is real. I’ll repeat–there is a feeling. Villarreal is a feeling, and the owners of the club are all those people who think and feel in yellow. The only thing we try to do is to lead well, to work hard, and through that effort, achieve success, like it has happened this year. 

IM: You are now the sport’s top representative in the Valencian Community. The Yellow Submarine is the flagship of Valencian sport. Are you proud? 

FR: Of course. This is a global success, for the entire province, and for all valencianos. The people from the Valencian Community need to believe in what they have. We believed in ourselves, and we got a trophy as important as the Europa League. But to grow, and to believe is for all of us to do. 

We have to be a common front between valencianos. It is convenient for all of us that Elche stays in La Liga, that Castellon comes back to the Second Division, that Hercules builds back up, and for all of us together to make the Valencian Community bigger.

IM: Looking back to a few days ago…how hard was it to miss the final? Did you suffer a lot throughout the match?

FR: Yes, it was very hard. I had to come back from Poland. I went there and in order not to make it a thing with UEFA, we decided that the best thing was to go back to Spain. What would I have done there anyway? I went back home and I suffered, watching the match with my wife. Getting through the penalties…but all that suffering was worth it. We are champions. 

IM: Which was the moment of the match in which you suffered the most?

FR: For me, it was Rulli’s save. The moment he stopped the penalty we were able to rest and enjoy, because we had scored our penalty beforehand, and the match was over. We suffered a lot. 

IM: You’ve played a final, you are going to play another one, and you have a trophy on the shelves. Would you say that Villarreal is here to stay?

FR: We’re always arriving at places to stay.We have always worked hard to build competitive projects, being clear that the first thing is to stay in the First Division, and after that, whatever else we can achieve. 

IM: Is this the result of so many years of work and sacrifice? 

FR: No doubt. After more than 23 years, a lot of happy moments, some sad ones, like Roman’s penalty, the last relegation…it was time we experienced something as wonderful as this. We have worked hard to have a great youth system, an ambitious project and a magnificent stadium to play in the Champions League next season. 

IM: The project of the club is to be envious of. Do you agree?

FR: It is a privilege to have this squad and to have won the Europa League with so many youth players, and with most of them being Spaniards. It is a reflection of doing things right. And all that is thanks to the work of the Managing Director, Fernando Roig Negueroles, who has created a winning project. 

IM: What do you foresee for the future?

FR: For the future? Same as always, we want more, and better. The team needs to be more, and better than this year. Villarreal does not settle, and never will.

La Liga review: Villarreal’s performance through the stats

It’s over! As La Liga comes to an end, some things have changed, and other have stayed the same. Valencia is as mercurial as it gets, that Marcos Llorente is arguably the signing of the season, and Sevilla’s Monchi is back with a vengeance.

We also see that some things are as sure as death and taxes: Lionel Messi, Pichichi. Iago Aspas, 99% of Celta. Fran Escriba, making miracles at Elche. Simeone pushes his team one match at a time.

But, how did Villarreal fair in La Liga? Emery’s men finished seventh as the club focused in what would be a magical and unexpected Europa League title, but it is important to mention that the fifth spot was there until the last match. The results did not help, and Villarreal finished outside of the top six.

Luckily enough, the Europa League win means Villarreal will play in the Champions League. However, it is still important to measure the performance of the players and the team as they compare to the rest of La Liga. Let’s take a look!

Overall La Liga Stats: Villarreal players in the Top 50 per stat

Most goals:

2. Gerard Moreno, 23 

34. Alcacer, 6

42. Bacca, 5

  • The Moreno-dependency is obvious in this stat, as the striker scored roughly 45% of the goals of the team. Alcacer had a good start and Bacca a good end to the season, but a need to reinforce this position is obvious when looking at the numbers.

Most assists:

12. Gerard Moreno, 7

13. Trigueros, 7

39. Alcacer, 4

40. Parejo, 4

  • Here, Moreno is also leading but Trigueros, with more matches played but the same amount of assists, supports the striker. Alcacer and Parejo round things up.

Most shots (total):

3. Gerard Moreno, 47

29. Alcacer, 20

  • This is a very interesting stat, as Moreno shoots much less than Messi, but did not finish far off from the Argentinean. He is definitely more efficient than Alcacer too, as the forward from Torrent scored 6 in 20 shots, for 23 in 47 of Moreno. This stat bears repeating–every other shot on target Moreno makes, ends in goal.

Most passes (total):

3. Parejo, 2,668

10. Pau, 2,058

11. Albiol, 2,051

34. Trigueros, 1,579

  • Partnerships are on the menu in this stat. The Parejo-Trigueros and Pau-Albiol couples serve each other well, and account for a big portion of the passes of the team. Especial mention to Dani, who guided the team through 53 total matches this overall season. He played everything.

Most times recovered possession: 

25. Parejo, 45

  • The midfielder not only creates, but destroys, as well. He recovers the ball more than once per match.

Most fouls (total):

15. Trigueros, 58

41. Gerard Moreno, 44

49. Pedraza, 42

  • Trigueros is top here, and it makes sense as many of us have the classic image of Manu complaining about a foul that shouldn’t have been call in our brains. Moreno and Pedraza complete the podium as two aggressive players on the pitch.

Most dribbles (total):

4. Gerard Moreno, 71

33. Samu Chukwueze, 39

39. Parejo, 37

42. Moi, 36

  • Samu and Moi show in the Top 50 in this stat, demonstrating the talent Emery knows they have, but showing a bit lower than one would have expected.

Minutes played (total):

7. Asenjo, 3,240

11. Parejo, 3,119

11. Albiol, 3,119

25. Pau, 2,970

  • Asenjo played basically everything, and Parejo was not far off. Albiol and Pau spent the entire year together as well.

Whoscored.com Rating:

7. Gerard Moreno, 7.62

19. Parejo, 7.10

  • We took the Whoscored.com ratings as a measure of overall performance this season, and two Villarreal players would make the best La Liga team: Moreno and Parejo.

Other stats worth noting

  • Mario is the 10th best player in La Liga in terms of tackles per game, with 2.2 successful ones per match. 
  • Trigueros is the fourth best in the competition in terms of assists away from home, with four. 
  • Parejo is the fourth best passer in the league (per match), with 74.5 passes every 90 minutes.
  • Asenjo made it to the middle of the pack when it came to saves, accounting for roughlt 2 saves per match, 80 total.

Team review

Villarreal is also highlighted in several areas in the collective:

  • Fourth team with the most goals, with 60–but actually the 9th with the most shots per match, with 10.7. Efficiency is the name of the game. 
  • Villarreal shows his willingness to let the opposition run its game and counteract, and the numbers support this claim. The team is in the bottom four in terms of aerial challenges won (13 per match) and least fouls committed (11.8 every 90 minutes)and in the bottom five in interceptions per match, with 9.8. Emery’s men are also the 2nd team with the least yellow cards, with 65, only under Real Madrid (57). 
  • In the offensive, Villarreal shines again: Fourth team with the most possession on average (54.3%), also top four in most shots per match (4.3), and the second best dribbling team, with 11.5 successful dribbles per match, only behind you-know-who. 

Overall Insights

  • Gerard Moreno takes the cake: Overall, he is the top scorer, the player with the most assists, most dribbles, most shots, and overall rating in the team. On top of that, he is also by far the top scorer away from home, with 14 goals in 17 matches, and the seventh best dribbler in La Liga, with 2.2 successful dribbles per game. 
  • The team was not known for its defensive power this season, neither in the midfield, recovering possession, nor conceding a small amount of goals. However, it proved to be very efficient with the chances it enjoyed.
  • The wings have proven useful throughout the season, but the middle of the pitch is where it’s at for Villarreal. Pau and Albiol, Parejo and Trigueros, and Moreno up front are the gold of the team. If Roig Negueroles manages to bring in a dangerous winger, Foyth sticks around, and a promising striker joins the ranks, four competitions will seem less daunting to a stretched-thin squad.