The press tour of Laliga is in full swing, and our next stop will surely interest Nigerian fans. It’s Villarreal CF, the club of young Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze.
The talented 20 year old has been living his dream in Laliga since making his debut for Villarreal CF on 4 November 4, 2018.
The young Super Eagles winger played his 50th Laliga game last Sunday – February 23, 2020 when they lost 3-1 to home side Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitan.
There will be more to talk about Chukwueze and Villarreal after our press trip to the Estadio de la Ceramica. Be on the lookout here on Completesports.com and Complete Sports daily newspaper.
Ahead of my visit to Villarreal, read below, the the other interesting things you need to know about the club.
Villarreal CF have become a staple of LaLiga Santander over the past couple of decades, evolving into one of the most competitive Spanish clubs since their first promotion to the top flight in 1998. Since then they’ve spent all but two seasons in the top tier and have even embarked on some memorable European adventures, as well as finishing second in 2007/08.
The yellow of their home kit and stadium stands out and injects vibrant colour into LaLiga, also serving as inspiration for the club’s nickname: El Submarino Amarillo, ‘The Yellow Submarine.’
There’s no place like home: the Estadio de la Ceramica
The Estadio de la Cerámica has changed significantly since it was opened in 1923 but has housed the club consistently for almost a hundred years. With a capacity of 25,000, the stadium is noteworthy in Spain as it can fit half of the town’s 50,000 population!
Santi Cazorla, the star man in a strong squad
Santi Cazorla returned to Villarreal in the summer of 2018 after a lengthy injury layoff and he dazzled during the 2018/19 campaign, displaying the same magic he has shown throughout his career. It’s a massive coup, therefore, that the veteran Spain international has stayed at the club and that he continues to impress in the centre of the team’s midfield alongside other talents such as Vicente Iborra and Nigerian rising star Samuel Chukwueze. The club was busy in the transfer window in the summer of 2019, bringing in the likes of former Real Madrid and Valencia defender Raul Albiol from Napoli and full-back Alberto Moreno from Liverpool, while Paco Alcacer joined from Borussia Dortmund in January 2019 for a club record €25 million. A true signal of intent from a side making a very real claim for a Europa League spot this season.
The man in the dugout: Javier Calleja
A former club star and youth team coach who made 124 appearances for the club between 1999 and 2006, Calleja was a busy man in 2018/19. The coach and club parted ways halfway through last season, only for Calleja to be rehired towards the end of the season as the club searched for a boost in form to steer clear of relegation. Stability has ruled this season with the club pushing hard for a European spot. With just a dozen matches remaining, Villarreal sit in seventh, just two points off a Europa League spot.
The greatest moment in their history?
Villarreal came so close to ultimate European glory in 2005/06. It was their first-ever season in the Champions League and they went all the way to the semi-finals, overcoming giants like Benfica, Manchester United and Inter en route to the final four. In the end, a 90th minute missed penalty from the usually so reliable Juan Roman Riquelme saw the Yellow Submarine knocked out by Arsenal. Despite the disappointment of missing out on an all-LaLiga final with Barcelona in Paris, their European adventure remains one of the highlights of Villarreal’s history.
Did you know?
Villarreal didn’t actually take part in the first ever match at their stadium! When the Estadio de la Cerámica was inaugurated on June 17th 1923, back when it was named the Campo del Villarreal, the two teams who faced each other were CD Castellón and SD Cervantes CF.
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