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Villarreal B’s next opponent, Fuenlabrada

Here’s what I can tell you about them....

Fuenlabrada v Real Madrid - Copa Del Rey Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Fuenlabrada. Where is it?

The town is south of Madrid—in fact, you go through/past Getafe and Leganés to get there. With good Metro and train connections to the city center, and more affordable housing prices, it’s something of a bedroom community I expect.

Where does the team play?

Aha! The team plays in the magnificently named Estadio Fernando Torres. No, Torres never played for Fuenlabrada, but he was born there, and is their most famous native son. Don’t worry, he can’t come on late and score against us.

The ground is very close to a branch campus of the University Rey Juan Carlos, including the “Alicia Alonso” school of dance. No, I am not making this up.

Who is their manager?

Antonio Calderón. A native of Cadiz, he played for Mallorca and Rayo as well as his hometown club as an attacking midfielder, and also spent four years in Scotland, with Airdrie, Kilmarnock, and Raith Rovers before retiring. He was Huesca’s manager in November 2012 when they drew 1-1 with us in El Madrigal, and must have played against Villarreal for Rayo when we were both in the Segunda, though I can find no records from those matches to confirm this.

Is there a Villarreal connection?

Of course, there is ALWAYS a Villarreal connection, it seems. In this case, it is Marcos Gullón—remember him? He was a member of our cantera from 2007 to 2012 as a central midfielder, and was a key part of the Villarreal B side that was promoted to the Segunda in 2009. Marcos was a Spanish youth international as well, but didn’t fulfill that early promise. After leaving us he played for Racing Santander, Cypriot side Apollon Limassol for three years and then Roda Kerkrade in the Netherlands. They released him last summer and he caught on with Fuenlabrada in January.

But wait!! There’s more??

Yup. Anyone remember Cristóbal (Marquez)? Sure you do. He was—like Gullon—a part of that 2008-09 B-team promotion side, and played for the B team the following season as well. An attacking central midfielder whose main asset was his speed, he saw limited first-team opportunities and moved on a free to Karpaty (Ukraine) at the end of the 2010-11 season. He played there briefly, also had stops in New Zealand (Auckland City), Mitra Kukar (Poland), and Toledo (Spain, not Ohio) before finding his way to Fuenlabrada in August 2016. He’s now 34 years old.

And then there’s Fran Garcia. He’s a native of Vila-real who, naturally played in our youth teams and made it all the way to Villarreal B as a left back. We let him go to Albacete at the end of the 2014 season on a free, they loaned him back for half a season, then he moved to Fuenlabrada on a free in August 2016. He’s now 25 years old, and was a regular for them this season.

So when are the matches?

The away match is next Sunday at noon Spanish time, which means 3AM here—so don’t count on a gamethread from me!! The return match, in Vila-real, is the following Saturday. I expect this to still be at the Mini Estadi since we will have used the Ceramica for the Spain-Switzerland friendly on the preceding Sunday.

Should we progress to the final round, it is highly likely we will play the final leg in the Ceramica. We did that (then called El Madrigal, of course) in 2009.

More details on Fuenlabrada’s progress this season, formation, etc. closer to the weekend. ENDAVANT MINISUBMARI !!!!

UPDATE: The first leg match is now scheduled for SATURDAY JUNE 2 at 18:00 Spanish time:

I am told it will be televised (in Spain, at least) on BeinSport, as will the return leg. So I don’t expect we will be able to watch the match through the official site, unless BeinSport agrees to let them stream it somehow.