|Full name||Villarreal Club de Fútbol S.A.D.|
|Nickname(s)||El Submarino Amarillo
(The Yellow Submarine)
|Founded||10 March 1923; 92 years ago|
|Ground||Estadio El Madrigal|
|Website||Club home page|
Villarreal Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. (Valencian: Vila-real Club de Futbol, S.A.D.), usually abbreviated to Villarreal CF or just Villarreal, is a Spanish footballclub based in Vila-real, a city in the province of Castellón within the Valencian Community. Founded in 1923, it plays in La Liga, holding home games at El Madrigal, with a capacity for 24,890 spectators.
The club is nicknamed El Submarí Groguet or El Submarino Amarillo (Yellow Submarine) due to its yellow home kit, and due to being a low-profile team compared to Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, whom they have challenged for trophies over the last decade. Villarreal has often been touted as an example of a small but successful club.
Villarreal CF was founded as Villarreal CD on 10 March 1923 “to promote all sports especially Soccer.” The stadium was rented for 60 pesetas a month and ticket prices were set at half a peseta for men and a quarter of a peseta for children. Women were granted free admission.On 17 June 1923, Castellón, a modern rival of the club, played the first match against a club named after Cervantes. On 21 October of that year, Villarreal played their first game ever, playing against Castellón. Villarreal started off with a kit of white shirts and black shorts, reflected in their first badge.
Villarreal entered regional competitions within the Spanish football pyramid from 1929–30 onwards. The 1934–35 season saw the team lose to Cartagena when a win would see them promoted to the nationwide Second Division. The following season saw Villarreal win the First Division of the region before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.
When the war finished in 1939, the club played again in the Second Division of the region before promotion in 1950–51 to the first. In 1942, the club changed their name to CAF Villarreal, with a new badge in the yellow colour of their new shirts. The “F” stood for Foghetcaz, an athletics club and supporter of the team.
The name changed again to the current Villarreal CF in 1954, with a badge similar to the present one.They finished seventh and then fourth twice in the First regional league before being promoted to the Tercera Liga (Third Nationwide) as champions in 1956. They were relegated in 1960–61 after finishing 14th.
The club adopted their present badge in the summer of 1966.In 1966–67, Villarreal returned to the Tercera as champions. In 1970, they reached the national Segunda for the first time.After narrowly avoiding relegation in their first season, they were relegated the following. In 1975–76, they were relegated from the Tercera to the Regionals, but were promoted back again the next season.
In 1986–87, Villarreal were promoted to the Segunda Liga B. In 1990, they finished 18th and were relegated back to the Tercera.
There were back-to-back promotions as the club returned to Segunda B and finished second, earning promotion to Segunda A for the first time. From 1992–93, Villarreal were often in low or mid-table positions, but reached the play-offs in 1997–98 by finishing fourth. The two-legged play-off was against Compostela. Villarreal hosted the first leg which was a 0–0 draw, but the second leg at the home of the Galicianteam was a 1–1 draw, thus Villarreal were promoted on the away goals rule.
Villarreal’s Primera Liga debut started with a match against reigning European champions Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on 31 August 1998. The first home game was against Celta de Vigo the week after. Because of a difficult season, Villarreal were relegated to the Segunda División for the 1999–2000 season, but by finishing third, they were then promoted back to the Primera Liga.
After finishing seventh on their return to the Primera, Villarreal finished in 15th place for two-straight seasons.
Villarreal competed in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in the summer of 2002, defeating FH of Iceland, Torino of Italy, and Troyes of France. They lost in the final to compatriots Málaga, 2–1 on aggregate.
In the summer of 2003, they defeated the Dutch team Heerenveen in the final of the Intertoto Cup, thereby qualifying for the UEFA Cup of the upcoming season. In their major European debut, Villarreal reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, losing to neighbours and eventual champions Valencia. In the league, Villarreal finished in eighth place.
In the summer of 2004, Villarreal retained the Intertoto Cup, beating compatriots Atlético Madrid on penalties after the final finished 2–2 on aggregate. This qualified them to the UEFA Cup. They lost in the quarter-finals of the 2004–05 UEFA Cup to Dutch side AZ, losing 3–2 on aggregate. During the same season, Villarreal finished in third place in La Liga, earning the club their first direct qualification to a European tournament, the Champions League. The club’s centre-forward Diego Forlán won the Pichichi Trophy for top scorer in the league, with 25 goals.
Villarreal defeated the Premier League’s Everton in a play-off for the Champions League group stages. The group saw Villarreal go undefeated, drawing both games against Manchester United and achieving a draw and a win each against Lille of France and Benfica of Portugal. The win over Benfica was away and both teams advanced to the last 16.
The club then drew 3–3 against Rangers of Scotland in the Last 16, advancing on away goals due to a 2–2 draw at Ibrox. In the quarter-finals, Villarreal beat Internazionale on away goals after finishing 2–2 on aggregate. The club bowed out in the semi-finals against Arsenal, losing 1–0 away at Highbury. Juan Román Riquelme had a penalty saved by Jens Lehmann in the home game, which finished 0–0. Arsenal went on to lose in the final in Paris to another Spanish club, Barcelona.
Villarreal finished seventh in La Liga, which only earned an Intertoto Cup position.
Villarreal contested the Intertoto Cup in the summer of 2006 and was knocked out in its first game, to Maribor of Slovenia. The first leg was lost 2–1 at home and the away game was a 1–1 draw.The team finished 5th in La Liga and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
Villarreal gained their best-ever league position in 2008, finishing second to Real Madrid by eight points, and also reached the last 32 in that season’s UEFA Cup. After defeating BATE Borisov of Belarus in a play-off, the team won Group C unbeaten. Their group opponents were Fiorentina of Italy, Mladá Boleslav of Czech Republic, IF Elfsborg of Sweden, and AEK Athens of Greece.
In the last 32, Villarreal were defeated by eventual champions Zenit Saint Petersburg, losing the first leg 1–0 in Russia to a Pavel Pogrebnyak goal. The second leg was won 2–1 by Villarreal at El Madrigal, but Zenit advanced on away goals.
The club automatically qualified for the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League, due to them finishing second in La Liga the previous season. They drew Manchester United, for the second consecutive campaign,Celtic, and Aalborg BK. They made a good start by holding current European champions Manchester United to a goal-less draw at Old Trafford, a third 0–0 draw in a row against the English giants. A first win was sealed on 30 September by beating Gordon Strachan’s Celtic 1–0 at El Madrigal, courtesy of a Marcos Senna free-kick. On 21 October, during a Champions League match against Aalborg, they scored six goals to three. The Spaniards went through to the knock-out stage after drawing 2–2 with Aalborg in Denmark and drawing goalless once again against the Lancastrian “Red Devils,” on the last group-stage match, they lost to an already-eliminated Celtic.
In the knock-out stage, they faced Panathinaikos, who left Villarreal with a 1–1 away advantage, despite this the Greeks were to lose 1–2 in Athens. Villarreal reached the quarter-finals for the second time in two tries, and were once again paired with Arsenal. The first leg saw a 1–1 draw by a free-kick by Marcos Senna, equalised by an Emmanuel Adebayor volley. Theo Walcott, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Robin van Persie secured a 3–0 win for Arsenal on the return, knocking Villarreal out of the tournament.
Despite finishing outside of a European qualifying spot in the domestic league, Villarreal was given a place in the qualifying round of the 2010–11 Europa League after UEFA determined that Mallorca’s financial irregularities precluded them from taking part in the tournament.
A 5–0 home win and a 2–1 away win against Dnepr Mogilev qualified them for the group stage. Villarreal suffered an early setback following a shock 2–0 loss in their away fixture against Dinamo Zagreb. Despite this, however, later wins against Dinamo, Club Brugge and PAOK saw them top their group.
After beating Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen and Twente in the knockout phases, Villarreal qualified for the semi-finals to face tournament favourites Porto. After taking a 0–1 lead at the Estádio do Dragão, Porto made a remarkable turnaround that ended in a 5–1 defeat. Although Villareal won the second leg with a 3–2 win, Porto’s first leg goal total saw them advance to the final on aggregate, where they beat Braga to be crowned champions. Giuseppe Rossi finished as the tournament’s second top goalscorer with 11 goals, behind Porto’s Radamel Falcao.
On 13 May, Villarreal were relegated from the Primera Liga after defeat to Atlético Madrid. Following a horrendous season, the club suffered a shattering tragedy when Manolo Preciado, appointed as Villarreal’s new manager on 6 June, died of a heart attack later that day.Following their relegation, there was a mass exodus of players at the club, with star players such as Borja Valero, Diego López, Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar leaving the side.
After one year in the Segunda División, Villarreal were promoted back to La Liga on the final day of the season after finishing the year in second after champions Elche.
The team began its new tenure in the top-flight by winning its first three games; the winning streak ended with a tie against Real Madrid at El Madrigal, though the team was undefeated until falling to Real Betis 1–0 in the seventh matchday of the season. The Yellow Submarine finished the 2013–14 campaign in sixth, thus qualifying them for next season’s Europa League.
In 2014–15, Villarreal again finished the year in sixth, enough to secure direct qualification to the Europa League group stage.
In 2015–16, Villarreal led La Liga for the first time.
Villarreal has supported a long rivalry with Castellón for geographical reasons, since both are from the province of Castellón. They also rival Valencia, since the two had been the most competitive teams of theValencian Community; this clash is called the “Derby de la Comunitat.”
The club’s famous yellow kit dates back to 1947. With the new season fast approaching, the son of the then Villarreal president travelled to Valencia to purchase replacements of the club’s official kit of white shirts and black shorts. Discovering that the shop had neither in stock, he instead bought the only colour that they did have, which happened to be yellow. The players agreed that the shirts were suitable, although they weren’t keen on the black shorts, so the president’s son travelled to Castellón and purchased a batch of white shorts. The players voted that they should be dyed blue. After remaining as the club’s official kit for some time, the yellow shirts and blue shorts combination was last worn in the 2002–03 season, and the club has since sported all yellow kits. Away colours have often been navy blue.
From 2005 to 30 June 2011, the shirt sponsor was “Aeroport Castello”, an airport. Since that date, they have worn unsponsored shirts. The kit is made by the Chinese company Xtep, having previously been produced by Puma of Germany.