Villarreal Club de Futbol SAD are traditionally one of the smallest clubs in Spain based in Vila-real, a small town of population just under 50,000 in the province of Castellon. But since the start of the 21st century, this club has transcended to one of the most consistent and rising forces in Spanish football.
Villarreal were founded in 1923 and have played in the regional leagues for most of the time since then. It is amazing to note that they reached the Segunda Division in Spain only in 1970 and played for two consecutive seasons there after which they were relegated back to the Third Division.
Villarreal have been on the rise since the start of this century and under Chilean coach Manuel Pelligrini, qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the 2005-2006 season after finishing fourth the previous season. They even had the audacity to reach the semi-finals of the most elite club competition in the world that very season. They had the Argentine enigma Juan Roman Riquelme to thank for their ascendancy in Spanish football as it was he who was the inspiration behind Villarreal’s dramatic rise in status in Spain.
Finally the modest club managed to steer themselves to the Spanish first division for the 1998/1999 season but had to swallow the humble relegation pie as soon. But they bounced back to the first division immediately and have consolidated their place in La Liga with some force since then.
Villarreal recorded their best-ever La Liga finish, as runners-up, in 2007-08 under Pellegrini. They were relegated in 2011-12 but instantly returned and have finished in the top 10 every season bar once (2018-19) since.
Villarreal enjoyed several good European runs, but triumphed under Unai Emery in the 2021 Europa League with a penalty shootout victory over Manchester United in the final.
They play their home matches at the 23,000 capacity Estadio El Madrigal.
They are known as the Yellow Submarine to their supporters, or El Submarino Amarillo.
- La Liga Runners-up: 2007–08
- Tercera División Winners: 1969–70
- UEFA Europa League Winners: 2020–21