Back in 2009, Villarreal qualified for the Champions League quarterfinals for the second time in their history. Villarreal USA was a small Word Press blog with Sidarth as one of their writers (I confess I hadn’t even run across the blog yet!) so I thought it would be interesting to chat with Sid and get his perspective on our 2022 achievement compared to that one.
It shows you how club football has continued to grow in the intervening years, I guess, but the 2009 squad that played against Arsenal in the CL quarterfinals that year was headed by Marcos Senna and Joan Capdevila, both fresh off Spain’s 2008 Euros win. (Santi Cazorla injured his leg in early April so missed both quarterfinal matches). And we did have two or three players who had greater success later, most notably Diego Godin, Giuseppe Rossi, and Bruno Soriano—but they were early in their careers.
We compare that squad to this one, discuss Unai Emery’s strategy and ability to plan in knockout ties...and look ahead to the Bayern matches a bit. We are certainly not favorites, but there is hope as we look to the next round.