Villarreal released their squad numbers today. They are as follows:
Asenjo 1; Andres Fernandez 13; Mariano Barbosa 25
Mario 2; Jose Angel 3; Musacchio 5; Ruiz 6; Jaume Costa 11; Alvaro Gonzalez 12; Jokic 15; Rukavina 22; Bonera 23
N'Diaye 4; Cheryshev 7; Jona dos Santos 8; Manu Trigueros 14; Rodri 16; Samu C 19; Roberto Soriano 20; Bruno 21;
Larrea 26, Catalapiedra 27, Leo Suarez 29
Soldado 9; Pato 10; Bakambu 17; Sansone 18; Santos Borré 24; Mario Gonzalez 39
Noteworthy? Well, Rodri is definitely a first team player now; Bojan Jokic, surprisingly to many, is still here. Larrea, Cantalapiedra, Suarez and Mario Gonzalez all impressed enough that they received first team numbers.
HOWEVER, the big news this morning was the interview Sr. Roig gave to Radio Via-real, in which he talked about Marcelino's departure. MARCA has a story on it here.
Briefly, the genesis of it lies in our last La Liga match under Marcelino--the one where we went to Sporting Gijon and meekly rolled over--this after a press conference where Marce had said he hoped Sporting survived. (After the match his wife tweeted "mission accomplished", which did not go over well either). "I have always defended honesty in football and could not allow circumstances like those that happened at the end of last season", Sr. Roig said.
Why did he not fire Marcelino immediately, then? Possibly because either he didn't know the full extent of Villarreal's lack of preparation for the match (one wonders if that was something the captains talked to him about at that August meeting?) or he hoped it would blow over and our preseason would be a very positive one.
However, it was clear that there were issues behind the scenes. Perhaps there were issues surrounding transfers (though N'Diaye was someone Marce seemed to want), but more likely, Marcelino's attitude toward the Gijon match had some spillover effects. Marcelino is an old-style coach, wants things done his way, manages all aspects of the players' diets during the season. Yes, the Gijon match was meaningless for us, but not for Sporting, and not for Rayo and Getafe. I can't imagine our players, who certainly have friends on those clubs, were happy with Marcelino's attitude to that match.
Sr.Roig stated "Several years ago we had problems in preseason, we did nothing, and that year we were relegated to the Segunda. There are people who don't understand the decision but I did it to try to prevent the same thing happening again". He also said the decision was not taken at the request of the players, was his and his alone.
Quite apart from this subject, Sr. Roig was also very angry at some of the whistling of players and the general lack of support for the team in El Madrigal on Sunday. I would agree; if you look at the roster above, it's far better than last year's--but with Bakambu, Soldado, Jona dos Santos, Cheryshev and Bonera all injured, and with 9 of the 25 permanent first-teamers being new, it will take some time for us to show our best.
Clearly our Presi is attempting to stamp his moral authority on the situation, close the book on the Marce era, and get everyone focused on the year ahead and supporting the club. He also spoke to EPM after the traditional offering to Saint Pascual; interestingly, he said he met with Marcelino before the match in A Coruña for two hours and did not like what he heard from Marcelino. So who knows, maybe the Marce-Musacchio fracas at halftime was caused partly by Marce's frustration and seeing the handwriting on the wall.
Let's all come together and support Villarreal, move on from the past and look to the future. The glass is not full, but neither is it empty. ENDAVANT