You knew it was going to be this way after the ending to the season we had. Villarreal has released a farewell and thank you to outgoing manager Javi Calleja and it is completely complimentary. You can read it in full here.
One of the many touching moments from yesterday’s match was after Zambo Anguissa’s opener when he and his teammates ran over to embrace their manager, which now shows they knew it was his last match in charge and they appreciated his efforts.
The circumstances of the ending of this season were unique in football history, and it will certainly have created a permanent bond between the men who went through it together. Javi Calleja adjusted to the chances better than almost any other manager in La Liga. The club statement says in part:
Javi Calleja, a Villarreal man
Javi Calleja was formed as a coach in the Yellows’ youth setup, arriving at the club eight seasons ago to coach at U16 (cadete) level. In his time in the Yellows’ youth system, he won three División de Honor leagues with the U19s (Juvenil A), as well as a Copa de Campeones. Before moving to the first team in the 2017/18 season, he took charge of Villarreal B, with whom he was unbeaten.
A Villarreal man indeed. Part of the uncertainly, and certainly part of the controversy, in replacing Calleja is that it is hard to find a manager who is as singularly devoted to a club as he has been to Villarreal. We’re a big club, but not necessarily the traditional modern super club where everything is business. There’s a personal element to this departure and I’m certain after the way this season ended he will be well remembered, despite any lows this season may have had.