2006 champions league final

2006 champions league final:Parejo, Danjuma and Moreno equal Riquelme, Forlan and Senna's feat

2006 champions league final Introduction

2006 champions league final Parejo, Danjuma and Moreno equal Riquelme, Forlan and Senna's feat

2006 champions league final

2006 champions league final Champions League: Unai Emery's Villarreal has shades of 2006 team that made an improbable UCL semifinal run

2006 champions league final

If you told Villarreal CF supporters in 2012 that their beloved club would one day not only grace the UEFA Champions League again but reach the semifinals as they did back in 2006 few, if any, would have believed you.

Almost exactly 10 years ago, El Submarino Amarillo suffered the ignominy of relegation from La Liga and a year in the purgatory of Spanish second tier soccer coupled with the tragic loss of the larger-than-life Manolo Preciado just hours after he was tasked with getting the Castellon club promoted.

That relegation, which happened only six years after their 1-0 aggregate loss to Arsenal in 2006, when Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann saved a late Juan Roman Riquelme penalty to send Arsene Wenger's Gunners to the final, threatened to disappear Villareal back to the lower divisions they emerged from against the odds back in 1998.

Truly it's been a whirlwind generation for this small side from the east of Spain. Promotion in 1998, a Champions League semifinal in 2006, relegation for a season in 2012 and now, sixteen years after their last trip, and with the Champions League final once again at Stade de France in Saint-Denis, the Spaniards are two semifinal legs away from the showpiece event and it is a strong likelihood that they will face another Premier League team in the form of Liverpool.

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𝗦𝗺𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗯.#UCL pic.twitter.com/YZMNjCnr2Z

— Villarreal CF English (@VillarrealCFen) April 12, 2022

Back in 2006, Villarreal's first Champions League fairytale was overseen by Manuel Pellegrini, who is now attempting a similar feat with La Liga rivals Real Betis, after moving on to the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City either side of another improbable European adventure with Malaga CF.

This time around, Unai Emery is the man weaving his magic with a similar collection of players to his Chilean predecessor albeit perhaps without an individual as brilliant as the capricious Riquelme who found an unlikely home at El Madrigal before it changed name to Estadio de la Ceramica.

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