The La Liga Promises tournament, played in Vila-real for the third time, concluded today. Villarreal’s youngsters defeated Real Madrid on penalties and made it to the final, but were unable to win for the second year running. Barcelona’s squad won the final, 3-1. Still, Villarreal’s Enrique finished as the top scorer and most valuable player in the tournament.
And Javi Calleja’s Juvenil A side went down to defeat against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semifinals, 1-0 (3-0 on aggregate). Calleja will be taking over Villarreal B this fall, after having done a great job with the Juvenil A team. A number of these players will make their way to the C team next season.
An interview with Sr. Llaneza today in EPM—he is optimistic (says he thinks this year’s team will be better than last year) but as always the first goal is la permanencia—getting the (assumed 43) points as soon as possible so we have Primera football next year. Then we can start talking about other things!
Sr. Llaneza caught much of the La Liga Promises tournament, but found time to watch CD Roda earn a Tercera place yesterday. And he urged the fans to come out to the Ceramica, where ‘they will have fun at a field without ultras but with good football’.
Jonathan dos Santos played 90 minutes for Mexico today against Portugal; Ruben Semedo will be back in action Tuesday when the Portugal U-21 team takes on Spain’s U-21 team (including Rodrigo Hernandez).
And the playoff final for the last promotion spot to La Liga will be played between Getafe and Tenerife. The first leg will be in the Canaries on Wednesday, the return leg in Madrid on Saturday. (Ex-Villarreal forward David Fuster scored one of Getafe’s goals in their victory over Huesca).
Finally, do read this article on Villarreal’s ‘centre-back factory’ by Euan McTear. He’s certainly right that playing a 4-4-2 has enabled us to do well at developing centerbacks. (We didn’t work hard enough to keep Florian Lejeune around, though—Eibar are allegedly selling him to Newcastle for something like €10m). I would also have mentioned Gonzalo Rodriguez, who after leaving us had some excellent seasons at Fiorentina—he played in a back three there, but was developed in our 4-4-2.