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Where are they now? Villarreal's B team, 2009-10

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Hard to believe it was only five years ago. Even though Marcos Gullon's return to El Madrigal has been spoiled by a red card, I am still going to use Limassol's visit as an excuse to look back at our B team in 2009-10 and see what has happened to some of those promising careers since.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Five seasons ago Villarreal's B team had just been promoted to the Segunda.  They finished seventh, but pretty much eased off the last month, being in the fight of the promotion places until then.  There was a lot of talent on that team--we welcome one of those players, Marcos Gullón, back to El Madrigal with Apollon Limasol, or at least we would if he hadn't received a red card in his first Europa League match! (as well as scoring a goal).  An appropriate time to review the players on that team--how they performed that year, and what has happened since.

Goalkeepers:

Juan Carlos-- JC had been the #1 starter for the B team in 2008-09, and continued his fine performances in 2009-10, appearing in 39 matches as starter.  He is still with Villarreal, of course, playing an important role in yet another promotion season, this time from the Segunda in 2012-13.

Vicente Flor--  Another who came through our ranks, Flor played in four matches in 2009-10 and four more the next year, before moving on.  He spent 2013-14 with Ontinyent but apparently the last match he played for them was in December 13 when he was red-carded.  He's now with UD Alzira, so we might see him face our C team.

Defenders:

Mateo Musacchio--The undisputed star of this group five years later, Mateo was a 19 year-old fresh from Argentina in August 2009.  He played 22 matches for the B team before being promoted to the first team in the middle of February 2010, and hasn't looked back.  Unfortunately will miss this match through injury.

José Catalá-- Catalá came up through Valencia's youth system and had already played in the Segunda with Alicante before joining Villarreal B for the 2009-10 season.  He was a frequent starter and was promoted to the first team the following year, but was let go after our relegation disaster.  After a year at Real Murcia, he joined Apollon Limasol, but  played in only five matches.  This season he is playing in Greece for Veria FC.

Joan Oriol--Another player who featured in the 2008-09 B team as well, Oriol was promoted to our first team in 2010 but between injury and the emergence of Jaume Costa, he could never quite nail down a starting role.  He moved to Osasuna in 2013 on a three-year deal with a €5 million release clause, but after their relegation found his way to Blackpool in the English Championship, where he signed a one-year contract with an option to extend.

Kiko Olivas-- Signed from Malaga's youth system, he played very well for the B team both in the Segunda B and the Segunda, but never could cut it at first-team level.  A pity, because he seemed like a nice guy, always willing to show up for club TV spots and the like.  He spent a year with Cordoba in the Segunda, and is now in his second year with Sabadell.

Mario Gaspar-- A product of our youth system, Gaspar was only 19 in 2009 but started 31 matches for the B team in the 2009-10 season.  He played some with them the following year, too, but Angel Lopez's knee injury opened the door for him to take the right back spot, and he seized the opportunity.   Mario has been sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of Villarreal the last year or two--he doesn't get a lot of press--but he has turned out to be an excellent player for us.

Carlos Tomás-- Does anyone remember him?  He played for the B team from 2009 to 2012, playing once for the first team--the season-ending loss to Osasuna in May 2011.  He moved on to Ponferradina, later to Levante's second team, and is now with a Segunda B club, Arroyo CP.

Midfielders:

Hernán Pérez--We signed the Paraguayan from Libertad in June 2009, and he played for the B team from 2009 to 2011, when he was promoted to the first team.  Sold to Olympiakos in January 2014 but subsequently returned to us with an injury, Hernán is a favorite of many of us here at Villarreal USA but has never quite been able to stake out a claim to a first-team starting spot.  We'll always remember his goal against Malaga and Javi Mata's call of it, though.

Natxo Insa-- We signed Insa from Eibar in June 2009 and he played in 74 matches for the B team over the next two seasons, but his lone first-team action was nine minutes as a sub in that same season-ending match versus Osasuna in 2011.  He then spent two years at Celta Vigo but found his way to Antalyaspor in Turkey, where he apparently still is.

Cristóbal-- He scored 6 goals in the 2009-10 campaign and seemed destined for a little bit more success, but it hasn't happened.  We loaned him to Elche, he found his way to Karpaty in the Ukraine, back to Elche on loan, then to Auckland City, and finally Olympiakos Volos again.  Somewhere in there he was awarded €600,000 in a contract dispute with the Ukrainians.  I hope he still has some of that money, because according to transfermarkt he is currently unemployed--flamed out at age 30.

Marcos Gullón--As noted, now with Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.  Now in his second year there following a season with Racing Santander, which must have been interesting given all their financial upheaval.

Javier Matilla--He seemed like an up-and-coming star on the B team, but never made the grade at the first level.  Villarreal sold him to Real Betis for €1.35m; he ended up getting loaned to Real Murcia in the Segunda, where he scored 12 times in 35 matches.  He's back with Betis, back in the Segunda; he scored his first goal for Betis in late August against Sabadell and is a regular starter for them in midfield.

Joan Tomás--Talk about a guy who looked like he was destined for the first team.  The Girona native banged in 20 goals in the 2008-09 season for the B team, leading them to their promotion to Segunda A, then had seven the next season.  He left Villarreal for Celta Vigo in the summer of 2010, and in 2013 joined AEK Larnaca in Cyprus, where he continues to score at a decent rate.  Age 29 now, though.

Jefferson Montero-- The Ecuadorian had a breakout season in 2009-10, scoring 10 goals, but the following year he didn't impress much with the first team and was sent on loan first to Levante and later to Betis.  Villarreal sold him to Morelia in the Mexican league and they cashed in on his World Cup appearance, selling him to Swansea City.   At least we made €3-4m off his sale!

Strikers:

Marco Ruben-- Speaking of cashing in.  Well, we did buy him from River Plate for nearly €5m, and immediately loaned him to Recre, but in 2009-10 he scored 17 goals in 31 matches for our B team (we nearly sold him to Wigan in January 2010, but the deal fell through) and was promoted to the first squad thereafter, where he scored 14 times in 65 appearances over the next two years.  Dynamo Kiev came calling and bought him for €8m in July 2012, which seemed like a great deal for us and not such a good one for them, and subsequent events have borne that out.  He's now on loan with Tigres in Mexico after spending last season with Evian in France, and has scored only two goals since we sold him.

Gerard Bordas--The elder statesman of this B team, Bordas scored 26 goals over the course of his Villarreal B career, but played only eight matches for the first team, and never looked like he belonged on the big stage to be honest.  Villarreal first loaned him to Girona, then let him go there on a free transfer.  At age 33, he's still on their roster, but has only seen action in the Copa del Rey for them this season.

Robert Flores--We spent a couple of million to get this guy from Montevideo's River Plate club, but he spent most of his Villarreal career on loan--first to the Argentine River Plate (where Diego Simeone didn't rate him much), and later to Nacional in Uruguay.  He played a grand total of 24 matches for the B team, with one goal.  Now aged 28, he's back where he started, in Montevideo with River Plate.  So it goes.

Coach: Juan Carlos Garrido took over the reins of the first team at the end of January 2010, and led Villarreal to a fourth-place La Liga finish and Europa League semis.  It all fell apart the next year, and he was fired after a Copa del Rey loss to Mirandés.  He had stints at Club Brugge (Belgium) and Real Betis, and seems to have found some success in Egypt with Al Ahly.  They won the Egyptian Super Cup on penalties, and are in the CAF Confederation Cup final against Séwé Sport of the Ivory Coast.  We wish him well.

If there's anyone I've missed, let me know!!