The Fiorentina players (Gonzalo, Borja, Rossi, Matigol) you know about, and perhaps you saw Hernán Pérez, David Fuster, and Ivan Marcano in action yesterday for Olympiakos, but whatever happened to.....
Wakaso Mubarak. Wakaso starred in the Africa Cup of Nations for Angola, and is currently playing for Rubin Kazan in Russia. Expect to see him in Brazil this summer.
Jefferson Montero. Another player who should make it to the World Cup, Montero has played pretty well for Ecuador and for his club team, Monarcas Morelia in Mexico. Supposedly Cardiff wanted him in the summer but Vincent Tan wouldn't spend the money, and now Swansea are rumored to be interested in him and want to buy him before the WC.
Airam Cabrera. The bruising striker never did do much in the Segunda, scoring four goals for Villarreal B in 2011-12 and three for Lugo in 2012-13. He's now playing in Cadiz in the Segunda B, and has 14 goals in 26 matches. Nonetheless, his club lie just outside the playoff spots in Group 4.
José Manuel Catalá-- Our emergency left back in the Europa League semifinal...how could we forget. He appears to be out of football, released by Cypriot club Apollon Limassol in January.
Kiko Olivas-- Kiko was always a nice guy, just never quite good enough to make it to the next level. He played 141 games for Villarreal B, but only 6 for the first team. He's still playing in the Segunda; after a season in Cordoba, he's moved to Sabadell.
Gonzalo Castellani-- I will always remember his dithering over a ball in the last seconds of the Racing Santander match, losing it and the equalizing goal following....anyway, he's now back in Argentina, playing for Godoy Cruz.
Marcos Gullón-- Heir apparent to Bruno at some point, many of us thought, but never quite panned out. After playing for Racing Santander, he moved to Apollon Limassol in the summer and is a regular for them this season.
Nicki Bille Nielsen-- If you recall, Villarreal loaned him out to Elche when they were in the Segunda, and he played some for Rayo in the Primera, but failed to make his mark. He signed a four-year deal for Norwegian club Rosenborg and scored 8 goals for them in the 2013 season (the 2014 season starts at the end of March) and also appeared for the Danish national team and scored in a 6-0 win over Malta in a world cup qualifier.
Nilmar-- Talk about a guy whose value has fallen like a stone. After Villarreal's relegation, he was sold to Al Rayyan in the Qatar Stars League for €10m, transfermarkt reckons he's now worth about half that. Al Rayyan wanted to loan him to another side, Lekhwiya, but that fell through when Nilmar and the coach had a training ground incident. He (Nilmar) has now moved on to another Qatari side, El Jaish, and he scored twice in his first game for them.
Jorge Palatsi-- You may remember he had to play against Xerez last season (the away match on their potato patch) and posted a clean sheet largely because ex-Villarreal man Lucas Porcar--of whom more below--missed an open goal. Word was he didn't want to renew with us because Barcelona was interested in him, but as it happens he's wound up as the reserve goalkeeper for Girona.
Lucas Porcar-- Yet another of the B team players who did well for a while but faded, Porcar went to Real Zaragoza from Villarreal's system but has now wound up on loan in Belgium, with second-division side KAS Eupen. They're leading the Belgian second division as I write this.
Iago Falqué-- Man, this guy has a lot of labels on his suitcase. Real Madrid youth system, Barcelona (B), Juventus--we got him on loan from them for the 2010-11 season. Harry Redknapp signed him for Tottenham (maybe he thought he was Rossi in disguise?), loaned him to Southampton, for whom he appeared once. Loaned to Almeria in 2012-13 and Rayo this season, for whom he's scored a couple of times. Since I doubt they have the money to exercise the purchase clause, look for him to move again next season. In the last six years, he's played a grand total of two matches for clubs that actually owned him.
Marco Rubén-- Dynamo Kiev signed him from us (for 8 million euros!) when they couldn't get Nilmar....that hasn't worked out so well. They loaned him to Evian Thonon Gailliard in France this year, and he hasn't done much there either, with one goal in seventeen matches as they fight against relegation.
EDIT--a few more:
Ángel Lopez-- he really seemed surprised and disappointed when we didn't offer him a new contract. He's currently playing as a regular for Las Palmas, currently challenging for promotion from the Segunda. (and yes, Mariano Barbosa, who played in goal for us in the Champions League years ago, is still between the sticks there)
Carlos Marchena-- at age 34, he's still playing regularly for Deportivo, trying to return to the Primera after being relegated last year.
Meanwhile, Javier Camuñas, who played for Depor last year on loan from us, is still looking for a club after we released him. I'm honestly a bit surprised no one in the Segunda has at least tried him, in spite of his body of work with us....
A few faces from the distant (well, pre-2010 past) that people periodically wonder about:
José Mari-- As far as I can tell, the 35 year-old striker is currently unemployed (the José Mari playing in MLS is ten years younger). He last played for Xerez, but they were relegated all the way to the Tercera after last year's on-field performance and off-field crises. Many of the Xerez fans are now following a new team currently playing in the regional leagues, Xerez Deportivo--there's an excellent article about them, with a bit about Xerez's troubles, here.
Marquitos-- Speaking of Xerez, this guy, still only 26, is playing in the Segunda for Ponferradina. He's scored two goals for them so far this season, and has been a regular starter.
Iván Marcano-- Funny how the same teams keep coming around....Marcano, who played in 2009-10 for Villarreal before being loaned out, is currently playing for Olympiakos in Greece. We loaned him there in 2011, and in 2012 sold him to Rubin Kazan...who have now loaned him to Olympiakos! Who knows, maybe they will buy him and we will get a bit of cash out of it.
And from the 2012-13 club:
Hector Canteros-- back with Velez Sarsfield, after we couldn't agree on terms to keep him.
Juanma-- he's gone through relegation three times already, and it looks like a fourth is on the cards. He's currently with bottom-of-the-table Alaves in the Segunda, but has only appeared nine times.
Olof Mellberg-- Anyone think maybe we should have signed him for another year just as insurance? Limited pace, but lots of experience....anyway, he's playing for FC Copenhagen in Denmark. They are currently third in the Danish league, and with only two Champions League places, who knows--maybe we'll see him in the Europa League. Age 36.
Joan Oriol-- Has played only 8 matches for Osasuna this season.
Javi Venta-- Went to Brentford (England Division One) but returned to Spain for personal reasons. He played in only a few matches, but from the tone of the official press release from the London club, I'd say he'd be welcome to visit anytime he wants.
Joan Truyols-- A versatile defender, but racked with injuries during his time with us. Released after appearing in three matches in the 2012-13 season, he was reunited with coach Velazquez at Real Murcia, and he's been the regular left-back for the Paprika Men.