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Villarreal face CD Guijuelo in the Copa del Rey tomorrow

I haven’t been able to find out much about our opponents, but here’s what I’ve got!

The trophy Sergio Ramos dropped under the bus....Real Betis hold it right now
Photo By Joaquin Corchero/Europa Press via Getty Images

Villarreal enjoyed a record-setting match last time out in the Copa del Rey, dispatching sixth-tier Santa Amelia with ease. This time, the Submarine travel to play CD Guijuelo, a team that was newly promoted to the fourth-tier (Segunda RFEF).

Guijuelo is a small town (about 5500 people) south of Salamanca and about 70 miles or so west of Madrid. It’s part of the modern Spanish region of Castilla and León (I tread lightly here, as my wife and I walked through this area last fall and discovered neither Castilla nor León really want to be associated with the other) and is best known for what? Its hams— the air here is perfect for curing the perfect jamón. In fact, I think there may be a drawing for two hams at the match tomorrow, if I read their flier for the match correctly.
Here is their shirt sponsor’s website.....vegetarians need not look at this...

Anyhow, enough of cured pork products, let’s move on to the team. CD Guijuelo was formed in 1974; they spent their first 25 years or so in the regional leagues, but made it to the fourth tier in 2002. From 2006-2021 they were a consistent Segunda B team, occasionally near the relegation zone, occasionally near the playoffs. With the reorganization of the lower divisions, they played in the fifth-tier (RFEF 3rd Division) in 2021-22, and won promotion to the RFEF Segunda this year.

They do have some success in knockout competitions, making it to the 2021 Copa Federacíon de España final, where they lost to Córdoba, and their best run in the Copa del Rey came in 2016-17, when they made it to the round of 32 before finding Atlético Madrid a bit too much, losing 10-1 on aggregate over two legs.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about their squad. Segunda and Segunda B sides generally have a few players who have La Liga experience or at least have knocked around the Segunda for years, but in the case of a club like Guijuelo, that’s not the case. Their squad has a mixture of players in their early 30’s who have toiled in the lower divisions for years, and players in their early to mid-twenties who may have come up in canteras like Mallorca’s, or have simply plied their trade in the region for 6-8 years.

Their talismanic player is perhaps midfielder Pepe Carmona, who played for them from 2015-2020, then spent a few years with Salamanca and Toledo before returning to Guijuelo this season. Alvaro Montero is their leading scorer—he has an interesting resumé, with three years in Serie C teams in Italy—and midfielder “Toti” (Daniel García Rodriguez) spent time in Alaves, Hércules, Cadiz...and Thailand??!!! Yup. For 6 years.

So. If they could pull off a result against us, this would be the biggest result in the team’s history, and surely in the players’ careers as well. Many of the players have played together for Guijuelo for several years and I am sure have great pride in what they’ve achieved, so they will be excited to play a Primera team, but I doubt they’ll be an easy opponent.

The match is being played at their ground, which holds about 1700, and as of today there are only about 50 tickets left. Expect a full house tomorrow!

Endavant Villarreal!!