Even though one of the things that makes Villarreal so impressive is their academy system, we don't often get much news of the youngsters until they get to the C team. But over the Christmas holiday there was a big seven-a-side tournament for the alevin teams (I believe that's 11 years old). Villarreal's side lost in the final to Atletico Madrid, 2-1, unfortunate since they played the better of the two sides, but that's football.
Villarreal also had the player of the tournament (Yassine, who scored a great goal in the final) and the goalkeeper of the tournament, Iñaqui. (Atleti's stars were a couple of brothers named Obama, btw). Congratulations mini-mini submarine!
Molina runs his first practice with the first team
EPM reports on Molina's first practice--lots of ball movement, and 4-4-2 with the sort of movement from the interiores we're used to as Molina tries to recover the "made in Villarreal" style. Interesting the comment about Marchena as well, who we haven't seen on the pitch since his poor game in Munich, have we?
A striker, a striker, we need a striker....
Much discussion in the press about this topic. Option one is to get our loanee Uche back. Villarreal has asked Granada for sure, word is the Granada brass are OK with it but the coach is not unless someone is found to replace him.
Villarreal might want to see them take someone like Bordas (Granada would rather have Joselu, I imagine!) but Uche's spot seems likely to be filled by Javier Saviola if recent press rumors have any credence. He's not getting playing time at Benfica. Meanwhile, the guys at futvillarreal.tk like the idea of Villarreal bringing in Sulley Muntari, another player who isn't getting playing time these days.
Apparently Elche fans are worried that Nicki Bille might be asked to return here--after a slow start he has been banging in the goals for the illicitanos and has been a key player in their rise to the top of the Segunda. I suspect he will end up staying there through the end of the season.
The Spanish financial mess, continued:
Speaking of the Segunda, it should be noted that on January 1 the new rules concerning administration come into effect in Spain, which for the first time provide penalties (either direct relegation or point deductions, I'm not sure which) for teams that use the Ley Concursal to get out from under their debts.
And so, Real Valladolid has become the fifth Segunda club to file for administration (Recre, Xerez, Cordoba and Herculés being the others, in case you're keeping track). The club owes €40m in debt, most of it to the Spanish treasury. I'm not sure why they care about that--Atlético Madrid doesn't! But when your players have to change by the light of their mobile phones because the electricity bill hasn't been paid, you know you have a problem.
Meanwhile, would any of you like to buy a football club? Not just a share or two, but the whole kit and kaboodle? Well, if so, have we got a club for you. Poli Ejido, who played Villarreal in the Copa del Rey only 12 months ago, has been offered for sale at a courthouse action but has found no takers. The club is in the relegation spots of their division (Segunda B, Group 4) anyhow, and it's possible they'd be relegated anyhow if the new laws are made retroactive.
It doesn't look like there's much left to do but close the doors, unless someone with deep pockets can suddenly be found. Speaking of deep pockets, Malaga announced their financial results, a loss of €43m last year, and an anticipated loss of €120m this year. Revenues of €30m, expenses of €150m. The Manchester City model, indeed.