A couple of interesting matches today, as host nation South Africa takes on Mexico in what should be an entertaining match. The vuvuzelas will be going strong for the Bafana Bafana as the represent Africa in the continent's first ever World Cup. Mexico has high hopes of escaping the group, which will probably necessitate a victory tomorrow.
In the second match, there is a bit of Yellow flavor coming from South America, as Villarreal boys, past and present, represent the submarine. Diego Godin is one of the few Villarreal players that actually ended up making a WC squad, and he is set to shine (and potentially grab enough attention to ensure that Villarreal no longer has Uruguayan first team representation). The other projected Uruguay starters from Villarreal-past include the unpredictable Diego Forlan, and the reliable Sebastian Eguren. Both players are missed by many loyalists, myself included, and I can't help but continue to cheer for their success. It will be a lot easier with Forlan when he moves on from Atletico, though. Uruguay is my dark horse to make a serious run, perhaps into the Quarters.
There is some club news, including the ever-present possibility of Europe. The Yellow Submarine has not given up hope for a European adventure next term, and it looks like it will take continued woes for Mallorca to make it happen. According to El Periodico Mediterraneo, UEFA could shortly cancel Mallorca's paperwork. Were that to happen, Villarreal would almost certainly be assured a spot in the Europa League. The money would be great for the club, as would the European experience for the youngsters.
Villarreal has made a formal offer, which is expected to be accepted, for 22-year-old Argentinean midfielder Gonzalo Pablo Castellani, who currently plays for Ferrocarril Oeste, which I believe is in the Argentinian second division. You can expect him to play for Villarreal B next season.
And you should know, you support a great club. Villarreal has announced continued efforts to support the fan, providing free and reduced-price tickets for fans who do not have work. Overall, ticket prices are being reduced. The club's goal is to maintain 18,000 season ticket holders. Not many other clubs would work at maintaining their base in this fashion.
The rest of the news is generally in the realm of departures.
As noted by previous comments, Ivan Marcano has been loaned out to Getafe, with the option to purchase. I am not sure he will ever recover the trust of the Villarreal faithful, but I am not so sure about loaning him to a team that we have to admit, at least for a year or two, is a direct rival. If he turns things around next season having put another year of experience under his belt, we could really regret this move.
And in what is a sadder move, although it hasn't been finalized, there are serious rumors that Joseba Llorente could be moving on after two seasons with the club. Admittedly he went through his cold spells, but rarely do you ever come across a guy with more heart. The current rumor is that he could be sold to Basque side Real Sociedad, the club of his hometown. Kenez pointed out that we purchased him for about 5.5m euros, and the current deal looks to be about 3m. I think if the economy was a bit better we might be able to pull another million out of a deal like this, especially assuming that Real Sociedad holds on to its promotion spot, but I think it could be a good deal for everyone involved.
It also seems assured that Damien Escudero will be moving on. I do not believe it has been finalized yet, but (and this is a bit stale, I know) he has been linked with Boca Juniors. Whether he ends up there or not, it seems the stars did not align for his time on the Mediterranean.
A couple of Italian clubs, including Palermo and AC Milan, have been linked to Villarreal loanee Bruno Renan, the Brazilian midfielder. We signed him, I believe it was two years ago, and if we sell him, it should be at a profit.