Villarreal CF, or more frequently Villarreal, is a Spanish football club playing in La Liga, the first tier of Spanish football with its home games in the El Madrigal stadium. Vila-real is a city in the province of Castellón in Valencia. Villarreal is not one of Spain’s fashionable clubs, such as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona, but still manage to compete with them on a season-by-season basis. Villarreal are regarded as a small but successful club.
Villarreal had very humble beginnings in 1923. Stadium rent was 60 pesetas a month and admission was half a peseta for men and a quarter for children. For the first forty years of the Club’s existence, games were played only in regional competitions and it was not until 1970 that Villarreal reached the national Second Division; however having narrowly avoided relegation in their first season, they hit the downward path in 1972-3 going down as far as the regional leagues once more.
It was not until the 1990s that a more positive set of results saw Villarreal become regularly established in the Second Division. For many seasons their final ranking was mid-table or worse but in 1997-98 Villarreal reached the playoffs by finishing fourth and gained promotion over Compostela by gist of the away goals rule over two legs.
So 1996-97 saw Villarreal in the top tier, La Liga for the first time. An initial seventh place was followed by two fifteenth places but by 2004 they finished in third place in La Liga, earning the club their first direct qualification to a European tournament, the Champions League. The club's center-forward Diego Forlán won the Pichichi Trophy for top scorer in the league, with 25 goals.
The 2007-08 season saw Villarreal earn their best ever place in La Liga by finishing second. That saw them in 2008-9 with a direct qualification for the Champions League, pitting themselves against teams such as Manchester United, Celtic and Panathinaikos, whom they beat in the knock-out stage. They reached the quarter-finals where they went down to Arsenal on a 4-1 aggregate.
There were more European adventures in the Europa league in 2010-11 where they advanced all the way up to the semi-finals before being downed by Porto, who went on to win the trophy.
Villarreal experienced relegation again at the end of 2011-12 but managed to bounce straight back with a second place to start the 2013 campaign back in La Liga where they enjoyed a successful season finishing sixth, a position which was repeated in 2014-15.
One of the international players in the squad is Brazilian Nilmar, recognized as one of the most exciting, efficient Brazilian forwards. We can confidently say that there will be plenty of good football at El Madrigal if current form is maintained.
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