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Villarreal Club de Fútbol, S.A.D., usually abbreviated to Villarreal CF or just Villarreal, is a Spanishmarker Primera División football club based in Vila-realmarker, a small town in the province of Castellónmarker. The team plays at the 25,000-seat Madrigal stadium.


Early years

The club was founded in 1923 and played in regional leagues until the Spanish Civil War, during which Spanish football went into a hiatus. After the war, the club played in various regional leagues as well as the Tercera División until the 1970–71 season, when Villarreal first played in the Segunda División for two consecutive seasons, at the end of which the club was relegated to the Tercera División once again. After playing in the Segunda División B for a few seasons in the late 1980s, Villarreal managed to solidify themselves as a Segunda División club starting with the 1992–93 season.

La Liga de las Estrellas

On 24 May 1998 Villarreal sealed promotion to the Primera División for the 1998–99 season, which started with an intimidating match against giants Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabéumarker. After a difficult season, Villarreal were again relegated to the Segunda División for the 1999–2000 season, in which they finished third, again earning promotion to La Liga de las Estrellas, the Primera División, where they have remained up to the present day.

European success

After finishing seventh a year later, Villarreal stayed near the bottom of the table for two seasons before defeating Dutch team Heerenveen in the final to win their first European title, the Intertoto Cup in the summer of 2003, thereby qualifying for the UEFA Cup tournament. In the 2003–04 season, Villarreal reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, losing to neighbours and eventual champions Valencia. That summer, however, they won the Intertoto Cup again, qualifying for that coming season's UEFA Cup tournament, in which they would reach the quarter-finals. They bowed out in the quarter-finals to Dutch side AZ, losing 3–2 on aggregate. During the same 2004–05 season, Villarreal finished in 3rd place in La Liga, earning the club their first direct qualification to a European tournament; the Champions League.

The 2005–06 season brought the club considerable European success and recognition, due to their consistent performances in the Champions League. In the qualifying round stage, Villareal sensationally defeated English side Everton with a 4–2 aggregate score with two 2–1 victories. In the group stage, Villarreal were to be in the same group as Portuguese champions Benfica, French club Lille, and English giants Manchester United. Remaining undefeated throughout the group stage, Villarreal were twice victorious (1–0 each against Benfica away and Lille at home) and earned four draws, including two scoreless draws with Manchester United. They topped their group and progressed to the knock-out stages along with Benfica. The club progressed to the quarter-finals in their Champions League debut by defeating the Scottish club Rangers 3–3 on the away goals rule (a 2–2 draw in Glasgowmarker and a 1–1 draw at home gave the Spanish side one more away goal than their opponents).

El Submarino Amarillo drew Italian giants Internazionale in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. The first leg was played at the San Siromarker on 29 March 2006. Playing at the San Siro, Diego Forlán scored inside the first minute of the match, but Villarreal lost 2–1 as Inter took a lead to the return leg at El Madrigalmarker on 4 April. Villarreal, however, continued their unbeaten home record in the Champions League as they beat the Italian giants 1–0 in the second leg to qualify for the semi-finals on the away goals rule (the tie ended 2–2 on aggregate, but because of Forlán's goal in Milanmarker, Villarreal advanced). During that game, left-back Rodolfo Arruabarrena turned a back header from Juan Román Riquelme free kick past Inter's goalkeeper Francesco Toldo to score the decisive goal of the tie. In the semi-finals, Villarreal narrowly lost out to Arsenal on a 1–0 aggregate scoreline following Arsenal's goalkeeper Jens Lehmann's save of Juan Román Riquelme's last-minute penalty. Villarreal signed Robert Pirès from Arsenal in the summer following their Champions League semi-final defeat. He is playing for the team now after a long injury lay-off. The 2006–07 season started very badly but Villarreal were able to qualify for the UEFA Cup after eight consecutive wins. "The Yellow Submarines" were 13th after Round 30 of La Liga, but they climbed to finish fifth at the end of the season.

The club automatically qualified for the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League, due to them finishing second in La Liga the previous season. They drew Manchester United, for the second consecutive campaign, Celtic, and Aalborg BKmarker. They made a good start by holding current European champions Manchester United to a goal-less draw at Old Traffordmarker, a third 0–0 draw in a row against the English giants. A first win was sealed on 30 September by beating Gordon Strachan's Celtic 1–0 at El Madrigal, courtesy of a Marcos Senna free-kick. On 21 October, during a Champions League match against Aalborg, they scored six goals to three. The Spaniards went ahead through the knock-out stage after drawing 2–2 with Aalborg in Denmark and drawing goalless once again against the Lancastrians, on the last group-stage match, they lost to a already eliminated Celtic.

In the knock-out stage, they faced Panathinaikos, which left Villarreal with a 1–1 away advantage, despite this the Greeks were to lose 1–2 in Athensmarker. Villareal reached the quarter-finals for the second time in two tries, and were once again paired with Arsenal. The first leg saw a 1–1 draw by a free-kick by Marcos Senna, neutralized by an Emmanuel Adebayor volley. Theo Walcott Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie secured the 3–0 win for Arsenal.

For the 2009–10 season, Villareal saw UEFA Europa League position, going ahead NAC Breda with ease by a 2–9 aggregeate victory. The share Group G with Levski Sofia, who they defeated 1–0 on their debut, and with Lazio and Red Bull Salzburg.


Villarreal has supported a long rivalry with Castellón for geographical reasons, since both are from the province of Castellónmarker, and with Valencia, since the two are the most competitive teams of the Valencian Communitymarker; this clash is called the "Valencian Local Derby."


Season to season

Season Division Place Copa del Rey
from 29-30 Regional
to 55-56 Regional
1956/57 8th
1957/58 5th
1958/59 6th
1959/60 12th
1960/61 14th
from 61-62 Regional
to 66-67 Regional
1967/68 3rd
1968/69 9th
1969/70 1st
1970/71 16th
1971/72 17th
1972/73 12th
1973/74 12th
1974/75 8th
1975/76 13th
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1976/77 Regional
1977/78 15th
1978/79 13th
1979/80 9th
1980/81 16th
1981/82 7th
1982/83 14th
1983/84 13th
1984/85 14th
1985/86 6th
1986/87 3rd
1987/88 2ªB 2nd
1988/89 2ªB 4th
1989/90 2ªB 18th
1990/91 2nd
1991/92 2ªB 2nd
1992/93 13th
1993/94 16th
Season Division Place Copa del Rey
1994/95 10th
1995/96 15th
1996/97 10th
1997/98 4th
1998/99 18th
1999/00 3rd
2000/01 7th
2001/02 15th
2002/03 15th
2003/04 8th
2004/05 3rd
2005/06 7th
2006/07 5th
2007/08 2nd
2008/09 5th

Nickname and mascot

The team is nicknamed El Submarino Amarillo (the Yellow Submarine) because of their yellow strip. The mascot (named Groguet, "Little Yellow") is a figure with a submarine head.In 2008,the shirt sponsor is "Aeroport Castello" (airport).

Current squad

As of August 1, 2009The numbers are established according to the official website: and

Out on loan

Foreign players

Former managers

See also

External links

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