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Gohan, footballer for a day

Forget all the multi-million euro transfers, the heated rivalries and petty arguments, the mismanagement of the game at the top also produces stories like this. Cancer patient Gohan is a Villarreal player for a day, leading the team out against Celtic and scoring a goal to begin proceedings.

Yesterday's friendly between Celtic and Villarreal was a great success, with somewhere around 12,000 people attending El Madrigal and bringing in €60k for the United In Hope project.   In addition, the Villarreal players (A and B teams and staff) donated another €50k, Celtic came for free, and even the match officials donated their time.

If that wasn't heartwarming enough, Villarreal made the evening even more special by choosing a young cancer patient to be a Submarine player for a day--starting the match by scoring a goal before being substituted, but remaining on the bench throughout as part of the team.  You can watch his big day at El Madrigal here:

Sr. Roig Negueroles said Villarreal got the idea from Seattle--I guess the Sounders did something similar, though I don't remember what exactly.  Doubtless Ravi can tell us.

As for the match itself, after falling behind 2-0 by halftime courtesy of a nicely worked free-kick sequence and a golazo screamer, Villarreal ran out 4-2 winners with Gerard Moreno scoring all four goals.   Both teams used a mixture of first-string and youth players--Jose Naranjo, a B teamer, set up the last two goals with fine runs down the left, and Cristian Galas started at left back for us.

Regardless of your loyalties, everyone can feel good about the money raised and the success of the Celtic Submari penya's 10th anniversary project.   All of us supporting Villarreal should feel really good about this effort.  I expect all our players had a little extra spring in their step as they returned to training this morning.  Endavant!