News today from the Villarreal camp is that Manu Trigueros has extended his contract until 2025. He’ll be 33 when this contract runs out.
I looked back to see if Villarreal USA had noted when Manu first became a Villarreal player. Not surprisingly, no, because he joined us as an 18 year-old from Real Murcia’s B team and went into our third team, which we didn’t get a lot of information about at the time!
Manu played for our B team once, at the end of the 2010-11 season; in 2011-12, he was actually called up for one first team match in November, but didn’t play. However, shortly after that he made the jump to our B team (then in the Segunda) where he played 25 times, scoring 3 goals.
2012-13 of course saw our first team in the Segunda, and while Manu played a lot, I hadn’t realized he actually played 90 minutes more times under Julio Velasquez (9) than Marcelino (once). By the next year he established himself as a frequent starter.
Under Marcelino, Trigueros was a central midfielder in a rigid 4-4-2 scheme, and he’s pretty much stayed in that role, though this season he’s been used on the wings more than at any time in a while. Discussions on this site as to where in midfield Trigueros should play, who should partner him in a doble pivote....those have gone on for years!
It’s frankly criminal that Manu was never called up for the Spain national team, but he had the misfortune of being an attacking midfielder at a time when Spain had a flood of them, the national side was dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona players, and—of course—Spain was riding a wave of success with the players they had. (Borja Valero made exactly one appearance for the national team—a friendly against the USA in 2011; Bruno made only 10 appearances.)
Congratulations, Don Manu! I’ll leave you with Sid Lowe’s excellent article on him and his teaching qualifications, published on the eve of last year’s Europa League final.