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Honourable Mention, October 2011 Photo Contest
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Riquelme: "Soy jugador del Barcelona y mi intención es volver"
Juan Román Riquelme, centrocampista argentino del Villarreal, aseguró estar "cansado" de hablar sobre su futuro y fue conciso al señalar que hasta el 30 de junio tratará de ayudar en todo lo posible al conjunto villarrealense pero que a partir de esa fecha es jugador del Barcelona.

"No me pregunten más porque lo tengo claro, soy del Villarreal hasta el 30 de junio y trataré de aportar lo máximo para ayudarle pero, a partir del 30 de junio, soy jugador del Barcelona y no puedo pensar otra cosa", afirmó Riquelme, que a final de temporada acaba su cesión de dos años en el conjunto villarrealense.

Riquelme insistió en que lo "único claro" sobre su futuro es que cuando acabe esta temporada tiene que incorporarse al Barcelona. "Soy jugador del Barcelona y mi intención es volver allí", apuntó el centrocampista argentino, que no obstante, apuntó que está contento de que en el Villarreal quieran que se quede.

"Lo único que he escuchado de mi futuro es que el Villarreal quiere que me quede. No puedo negar que me pone alegra porque eso quiere decir que están contentos con mi trabajo pero soy jugador del Barcelona hasta 2007 y no tengo que ir pensando nada sobre mi futuro", señaló.

No tiene noticias del Barcelona
El jugador aseguró que nadie en el club catalán le ha comentado nada al respecto de un posible interés del Barcelona por venderlo y reiteró que su única preocupación ahora es "poder acabar con el Villarreal el 30 de junio y alcanzar una competición europea de forma directa".

"Además sería una falta de respecto grande hablar con alguien de mi futuro cuando yo me debo al mi equipo", agregó Riquelme, que insistió en que siempre ha dicho que en Villarreal se siente muy feliz.

Agradecido a sus compañeros
"Lo único que quiero es agradecer a mis compañeros que se maten para que yo juegue como lo estoy haciendo. Mientras se habla hasta el martes o miércoles de lo bien que yo juego, son mis compañeros lo que hacen que yo juegue así, por eso no me cansaré de agradecérselo", comentó.

12,611 Posts
Villarreal Want To Keep Riquelme
1/27/2005 10:00:00 PM
Villarreal have announced that they are keen to sign Juan Roman Riquelme permanently when his loan deal expires in the summer.
The ex-Boca Juniors midfielder is in the final year of his two-year loan with the Yellow Submarines from Barcelona and has been earning rave reviews with some vintage performance in recent games.

But the Valenciana-based club know that he is unlikely to fit into Frank Rijkaard's plans when he returns to Camp Nou and hope to persuade the Catalans to do business at a price they can afford.

"Our hope is that Roman can stay with us," said Villarreal director Jose Manuel Llaneza .

"We know that it will be difficult because his two-year loan contract will finish and he has to be return to Barcelona.

"But we want him to remain and we are going to try to make it happen.

"We are going to make a great effort, it depends on depends on Barcelona, but do neither we think that it will be impossible.

"It’s more important it is to know what the player thinks and after speaking with him, I know that he is keen to stay."


38,252 Posts
Look out La Liga, there is a new dark horse in town - and they are the real deal!

That was Guillem Balague's verdict on this season's surprise packages Villarreal, who added the scalp of champions Valencia to that of Barcelona with a 3-1 win at the weekend.

A hat-trick from on-loan Juan Ramon Riquelme made it seven La Liga games unbeaten for the men from El Madrigal and although they are seventh, just four points now stand between them and the final Champions League spot.

But Balague believes this is just the start for Villarreal and has backed them to become the new Deportivo, who came from nowhere to shock the big two, take the title and even ruffle some major feathers in the Champions League.

"They (Villarreal) can be the new Deportivo," he told Revista. "Deportivo have finished their miracle and Villarreal are slowly growing. It's not that they've beaten Valencia, they've also beaten Barcelona, they got a 0-0 draw against Real Madrid, they are in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup.

"You can see every year that yes, there were always big players for big matches but now you can see there is more conistency to it and they'll probably go much further.

"I do feel Villarreal will make the Champions League and stay they're for a while - they're doing good things."

Manchester United fans may be surprised to see Diego Forlan doing so well in front of goal, but for Balague the key to it all is Riquelme.

Having failed to find his feet at Barcelona, he was shipped out on loan in the summer and although the Catalans have hardly missed him, he is getting the sort of rave reviews predicted when he first made the move from Boca Juniors.

"He is the best assistor (player with most assists) in the league with 11, he's scored seven goals himself and really what Villarreal do is get the ball to him and from the moment he gets the ball, anything can happen," said Balage.

"He's a very special player. He's a player who's on loan from Barcelona, but he will not go back to Barcelona where it was not working. At Boca Juniotrs and Villareal they understand his special needs up front and that's why we've got the best of Riquelme - who is probably the best player in La Liga at the moment."


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Forlán forlorn no more :party:

Friday, 11 February 2005

By Dan Brennan & Andres Garavaglia

A 2-1 win against Real Racing Club Santander lifted UEFA Cup challengers Villarreal CF up to fifth in the Spanish table, and to within one point of a UEFA Champions League place. And not for the first time, Uruguayan striker Diego Forlán got himself on the scoresheet.

Reborn in Spain
Regarded as something of a disappointment after failing to carve out a starting place in two-and-a-half years at Manchester United FC, the 26-year-old has rediscovered his goalscoring touch in impressive style in Spain. He spoke to uefa.com about his miraculous transformation.

uefa.com: This is turning into a great season for Villarreal and for you personally. The team has had great results against the 'big three' in Spain - Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Valencia CF - and you have scored against the latter two.

Diego Forlán: That is true but it is something that is gone with the wind. People here have been very kind to me and very appreciative of what I have done to date. But up until now we have achieved nothing. I want, at the very least, to qualify for a place in Europe next season.

uefa.com: At United you struggled to find your feet. Now you are one of Spain's top scorers. You must feel pleased at how quickly you have made your mark for Villarreal?

Forlán: When you have players of great quality like [Villarreal midfield player Juan Román] Riquelme and [forward Antonio] Guayre in your team everything becomes a lot easier.

uefa.com: You also had players of great quality alongside you at Old Trafford. Why did it not work out for you there?

As soon as I arrived at United, all the fans seemed to expect me to score two goals a game. There was a lot of pressure and it got to me

Forlán: I'm not trying to make excuses, but the language barrier was definitely part of the problem for me. But also the fact that everything happened so quickly. As soon as I arrived at United, all the fans seemed to expect me to score two goals a game. There was a lot of pressure and it got to me.

uefa.com: Do you think that maybe United are regretting letting you go just a little now?

Forlán: I don't think so. They have plenty of good players there. Of course, I would have liked to have been producing the same kind of performances in Manchester as I am now, but the door isn't closed yet. Maybe at some point in the future I will have a second chance to show what I can do over there.

uefa.com: Is the atmosphere at Villarreal very different from United?

Forlán: Very different. Nobody rushed me here. The coach, Manuel Pellegrini, was very calm and he wasn't in a hurry for me to score, simply because the supporters weren't in a hurry. That was the difference between him and [Sir Alex] Ferguson. Ferguson backed me up a lot when I didn't score straight away, but then I think he started to feel under pressure from the fans.

uefa.com: Is Pellegrini's approach different to Sir Alex's?

Forlán: Actually Pellegrini reminds me of Ferguson in some ways. They both know a lot about the game and will prepare for each match in minute detail. But the biggest thing they have in common is that they both really care about their players as individuals. They are both always talking to their players. I understand that each one has their own way of working, but both are the same in that they really 'feel' the game. Having said all this, working under Pellegrini is easier for me chiefly because we both speak Spanish.


38,252 Posts
Below is a transcript of an Interview on Sky Sports with Diego Forlan.

Diego Forlan has undergone a transformation in just six months in Spain.

The Uruguay international has scored 14 times in 19 league starts this season and in doing so, has helped Villarreal into the hunt for Champions League football next season.

Although he has been upset by presenter Rob Wotton's references to his time in the Premiership, Forlan was happy to chat to Guillem Balague about life at the Estadio El Madrigal, his own form, the battle between Barcelona and Real Madrid and of course, the future...

GUILLEM BALAGUE (GB): You could have gone to Levante, but you ended up going to Villarreal. Why did they let you go basically?

DIEGO FORLAN (DF): Because I decided! It was at a time that I needed to play, I was happy there, training and everything, but I didn't have the chance to play and I was missing that. I was concentarting on other things, like golf and tennis because I was not playing football on a cos i was not having the chance to do it. And that was only going to get worse if I stayed there.

GB: You're probably enjoying the best moment of your career, you certainly have the best scoring record of your career.

DF: The team is also playing very well and giving me the chance to play the full 90 minutes makes you more confident and f course you try to play well and you try to enjoy the matches more.

GB: One of the keys to this Villarreal side is that Riquelme finally feels comfortable in a team after failing at Barceloa. Is the team built around him and what does he add to the team?

DF: I don't know that it's built around him, but you know you need some keep players and he's the one who controls the game and knows when to keep the ball and knows when to make the right pass. He's a great player.

GB: Tell us your favourite goal so far this season...

DF: It was the third one against Real Sociedad. Jose Mari gave me the ball, it was a counter attack and I had the chance to shoot, but I saw Riquelme in a better position, so I gave it to him. He was also going to shoot but the keeper and defenders tried to block him and he gave it back to me. It was like something from the training pitch! It was a great goal.

GB: You've played against Barcelona and beaten them, you've played against Real Madrid and drawn - and you could have beaten them. You've seen them both, it's obviously going to be one of those winning the league. What do you think?

DF: One month ago I would have said Barcelona, they were playing so well. They are still playing well but it was difficult because at that time the coach was leaving Madrid and everything inside the club was not OK, so it's difficult for everyone. But now the team is doing well, playing well and winning games. Barcelona lost the other day at home, which thety hadn't done before and they don't need to drop any more points. This is a young team at Barcelona and Madrid have the experience. At the end of the day you need to win every game - it doesn't matter if you play well or bad. You never know what's going to happen, so it is going to be interesting to watch and to see who's going to win, because I think it's going to be tight.

GB: What is the target this season? You were in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup last year and you're still in the UEFA Cup this year, but I guess that fourth spot is the main target?

DF: Everyone keeps asking that question, what are you aiming for! I try to think of winning the next game. Every game is diificult whether you're playing away or at home. Everyone can beat everyone here and that's good. It's a difficult league and there are not too many games left so we need to keep in this rythym and try and keep playing this way. Then, at the end of the season, we will see which position we end in!

GB: Personally you have four more years here. Do you picture yourself helping this team to develop?

DF: I signed for five years when I came and I would like that. The President, everyone here is trying to buid a good team and I'm very happy, the people here are very happy, the spirit is very good. He's created a great team, with some great players in and it's nice. Of course you never know what is going to happen in the future, but I am happy here.

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Villarreal v Atletico Madrid - Spanish Primera Division - 2005-2-20 21:00
The tipster is betting AGAINST Atletico Madrid. If the tipster win, the profit is the stake of 10 (- commision). The amount the tipster stand to lose is 39. When you LAY a pick, remember that "Backers stake" in the picks in fact means your earning. You’re real stake is the liability (stake * odds – stake).

LAY Backers odds Backers stake Liability

AWAY 4.9 10 39

Villarreal, just like other Spanish Primera teams is a strong home team. Look at their 7-3-1 home record. Only once lost at home. They successfully maintained 8 cleansheets from their 11 home matches with only 4 goal against so far at home, one goal against per 3 matches!!

Atletico is still unstable yet. They seems to be back on their winning track after won against Albacete and Barcelona, but last week, they could only maintain a 0-0 draw against weak team Levante at home. Their away record also not so good. 2-3-7 from 12 matches. Bad achievement for a big team like them.

Maybe it will be a comfortable win for the home team, but I won´t lay the draw, because I´m afraid Atletico can hold them tonight, but to win.. still too far for the visitor (in my opinion).

Good Luck!!

Second Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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From abc.sports today ......

Un paso atrás

Si los rojiblancos pensaban que el Villarreal se iba a conformar, estaban equivocados. Además, lo de Ferrando dieron el inequívoco paso atrás, justo el que daba aviso al rival de que aún podía respirar. Así que Pellegrini movió el banquillo y al minuto el Villarreal ya le había echado el aliento en la nuca al Atético con un gol de Forlán después de un centro de Sorín.

Así que el partido se puso en el terreno que ya le es familiar al Atlético, el del sufrimiento, el de apretar los dientes y confiar en su dueto central de defensas para que paliaran lo que se les iba a venir encima. Pero el Villarreal no es de ésos equipos que se va a la yugular oliendo sangre. Por el contrario, tocó y tocó, con la frialdad de Riquelme y a la espera de que llegara Forlán.

El choque ya fue una autovía de doble sentido entre el ataque reposado del Villarreal y las contras tímidas y cada vez más escasas del Atlético. Tan atrás se metieron los rojiblancos que perdieron su renta en un cabezazo en propia meta de Perea y se fueron al pozo con el gol final de Sorín que castigaba el conservadurismo del Atlético.

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This is a TESTAMENT to HOW Manuel Pellegrini has BROKEN ALL the records with Villarreal, this as far as Villarreal is concerned, UNFORTUNATELY its in español..If someone dares to translate great !!!! But again I mention....We always point at the Coach when things go terribly bad...Hail To the Chief !!!!!!!!

El gran rendimiento del equipo del DT chileno es motivo de alabanza en España .

Pellegrini lleva al Villarreal a su mejor campaña en Primera.

El Ingeniero ha conquistado el alma de los seguidores del Villarreal al sumar registros tan destacados como el mejor rendimiento de un técnico tanto en la Liga como en el concierto internacional. Además su equipo ya acumuló otras marcas como las del mayor invicto.

Fecha edición: 22-02-2005

Por Rodrigo Labrín

Dicen en España que apenas con ir y mojarse los pies en el Mar Muerto, Manuel Pellegrini reviviría esas pesadas aguas. El comentario realizado en una emisora de Castellón tras la victoria del Villarreal sobre el Atlético de Madrid demuestra el aura y el respeto que por estos días goza el entrenador chileno en España.

Si hay dos cosas que nadie pone en duda de Pellegrini en Castellón son su elegante forma de vestir y su infinita capacidad para seguir sumando éxitos en su campaña al mando del Villarreal. Las caras de asombro entre los hinchas al ver cómo el "Submarino" se sacaba el ahogo de la derrota y la transformaba en una heroica victoria frente a los "colchoneros" fue comentario obligado en toda la prensa española. El Ingeniero a esta altura ya tiene cáracter de milagrero y con razón: además de revertir el juego ante los madridistas, sigue acumulando récords y marcas que parecían inalcanzables para él y para la pequeña ciudad de Villarreal.

Al margen de estar a un paso de alcanzar la clasificación directa a la Champions League, algo inédito en la historia del equipo, Pellegrini sostiene con los números un rendimiento superior a todos los técnicos que lo antecedieron. Desde que los amarillos están en la serie de honor ('98-'99), sólo Pellegrini supera la barrera del 50% de rendimiento. Nunca, por cierto, los castellonenses habían llegado al quinto lugar de una clasificatoria, como ocurre ahora. A lo más se encumbraron al séptimo lugar en la campaña que encabezó el año pasado el ex entrenador de Zamorano en el Madrid, Benito Floro.

Como las luces de Pellegrini en España parecen no agotarse, el chileno además es el entrenador con mejor registro internacional. Desde la temporada 2002-2003, cuando fue el debut del Villarreal en la Copa Intertoto, el equipo ha jugado cinco ediciones de torneos internacionales y los mejores estadísticas siempre tienen a Pellegrini como protagonista. El Ingeniero, de hecho, está invicto en la actual copa UEFA y en la Intertoto que le dio la clasificacion, sólo tuvo una caída en un total de ocho presentaciones.

Más récords

El fenómeno de Pellegrini agrega otros timbres a su impecable hoja curricular en el Villarreal. El invicto de nueve fechas sin perder, que terminó la pasada semana en la caída ante el Sevilla, fue el más largo en el recorrido del club, incluso cuando el equipo participó en la segunda división española.

Bajo su mandato, además, el Villarreal rompió el maleficio de los goles y de las nominaciones a la selección española. En el primer rubro, el uruguayo Diego Forlán, con sus 15 goles, superó la marca histórica de Víctor Manuel Fernández, quien consiguió 14 anotaciones por el club el 2000-2001.

En el terreno de la selección española, Pellegrini también asoma su nariz. Porque uno de los más titulares en el ciclo del Ingeniero, Antonio Guayre Betancor, se convirtió hace unas semanas en el segundo futbolista del club convocado a una selección adulta: Guayre jugó 14 minutos en el triunfo de España sobre San Marino y con esa sola marca superó a Usai Vergara, quien había sido el primero en saber de un llamado.

Como si fuera poco, el público aumenta semana a semana y eso también dicen en España es obra del Ingeniero.


Second Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Betting Preview...

Villarreal v Mallorca Spanish Primera Division 2.3.2005

Home Handicap Away Pick
1,850 0:1 2,000 HOME
Villarreal was kind of unlucky to not get a draw againts Zaragoza, they were the better team in the second half, but their bad first half display allowed Zaragoza to score a goal and sit on it.

Mallorca is just bad, Hector Cuper is a great manager, but the fact is that Mallorca lacks quality players, with only Luis Garcia their most valuable player, but Mallorca needs a good team to support him which they lack.

Mallorca"s bad defence just would not hold againts creative attacking teams like Villarreal, and another interesting stat is that Luis Garcia seldom scores againts teams from the top table at home.

So in my opinion, Villarreal would win this one easy :heart: :thumbsup: , as Mallorca would not be able to give the home side too much danger.


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Depor President In Riquelme Talks
3/8/2005 1:05:00 PM

Deportivo La Coruna president Augusto Caesar Lendoiro will hold talks with Barcelona counterpart Joan Laporta in London today over a deal for Juan Roman Riquelme.

The Catalans are thought to be ready to let the Argentine go, despite his impressive form at Villarreal this season.

The latter are also keen on the playmaker, but wages may prove a stumbling block.

Lendoiro will also take in the Chelsea-Barcelona and Arsenal-Bayern Munich clashes during his stay in London.


Second Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Crucial match up here for 5th rung Villarreal,44pts and 4th rung Espanyol,45 pts.
While Barca and Real Madrid has virtually secured a Champion League berth, the next 2 spots will be contested by the remaining 5 worthy contender.
With a Champion League spot as a realistic target and a point separating the two, this match may well end up as a decider for Villarreal and Espanyol fate.
With Betis at 45 points after yesterday win and a host of rivals within 2 points away, today result will see a major reshuffle for the top 6 spots.

Villarreal has a disappointing draw against lowly Numancia away the last weekend 1-1.
Never the best side in away matches, their home form is a contrast 9-3-1 25/7
They have their midweek UEFA fixture against Steaua Bucharest cancelled so they are all prepared and fresh for tonight games.
They are now currently one of the best team in the league, playing attractive football. Certainly deserved to be playing in the CL next season.
With top striker ex-man u exile Diego Forlan,16 goals and influential playmaker Juan Riquelme 11 goals upfront, getting the goals may not be that difficult after all.
6 consecutive home win for them, that just showcase how good they are at home

Espanyol is equally impressive at home but in away tie they are as dreadful as Villarreal
In fact their last away win is on 5 Dec against erratic Real Zaragoza.
I dubbed them as the ‘Everton' of SPL. Similarly bad last season, Espanyol took on a miracle runs of result to survival and now they are vying for a CL berth.
Away form 4-3-7, DLLLD in their last 5 away matches.
De la Pena claim to be fit although chances that he makes it to the field is slim , given his lack of match fitness. They still have Maxi, Dani and Tamudo all key players to the side

In the last match, both teams are even,sharing a point at 0-0.

I rated Villarreal highly and so far they have win me quite a lot.
I am going for all their remaining home matches. 6 left.
They have to win here today as they will be facing strong rivals in remaining matches Bilbao and Betis at home and Deportivo, Osasuna, Barcelona and Real Madrid
With UEFA cup also as their target, I certainly ranked them favourite to win it.
But to concentrate in UEFA cup is almost Impossible with distractions and strong competition in the league
The best way is to take an early lead at this point of time, a win here will bring them to 3rd place for sure and 2 points away from the closest rivals.

Full stake at -0.5

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Forlan leads Villarreal to 4-1 win over Espanyol

MADRID, March 13 (Reuters) -

Villarreal striker Diego Forlan produced a virtuoso performance to inspire a 4-1 home win over Espanyol that took them up to third place in the Primera Liga on Sunday.

The Uruguayan scored one goal, made another and then won a penalty in a brilliant display against fellow high-flyers Espanyol.

The win left Manuel Pelligrini's side two points ahead of Espanyol and Real Betis and seven behind second-placed Real Madrid, who play modest neighbours Getafe later on Sunday.

Leaders Barcelona are 11 points clear of Real after shaking off the disappointment of their Champions League loss to Chelsea with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp on Saturday.

Forlan put Villarreal in front and took his tally for the season to 17 goals when he whipped the ball into the net from the edge of the area 26 minutes into the game at El Madrigal.

But Espanyol hit back five minutes later when Albert Lopo scored with a fine diving header after bursting between two defenders to meet Oscar Serrano's cross from the right.

Forlan helped restore his side's lead five minutes into the second half when he picked out Juan Pablo Sorin with a pinpoint cross from the right, leaving the Argentine midfielder to finish with a close-range header.

Minutes later the former Manchester United player earned a penalty when he was brought down by Espanyol goalkeeper Carlos Kameni after darting into the area.

Juan Roman Riquelme sent Kameni the wrong way with his spot kick and fellow Argentine Luciano Figueroa completed the rout when he snapped home on the turn after a corner eight minutes from time.

There were big wins too for Levante, who crushed a beleaguered Osasuna 4-0 at home, and Racing Santander, who claimed a morale-boosting 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Real Mallorca to lift themselves seven points clear of the drop zone.

25,902 Posts
From the BBC site.

Forlan reigns in Spain
By Simon Austin


38 pts Thierry Henry (Arsenal) & Vincenzo Montella (Roma)
36 pts Marek Mintal (Nurnberg) & Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace)
34 pts Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona)
31.5 pts Dirk Kuijt (Feyenoord)
30 pts Diego Forlan (Villareal) & Ricardo Oliveira (Real Betis)

As of 1 March 2005
Points awarded depending on quality of domestic league

A glance at the contenders for this season's Golden Shoe reveals many of the names you would expect to see competing for the title of Europe's top goalscorer.

Seasoned hotshots Thierry Henry and Vincenzo Montella lead the race with 19 goals apiece, giving them a score of 38 points.

But the name in seventh place prompts a second look: Diego Forlan.

Surely not the same Diego Forlan who went 27 games before scoring for Manchester United and was something of a joke figure during his two-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford?

Well, yes. Forlan is the second-highest scorer in the Spanish league this season and one of the main reasons why his unfashionable club, Villareal, are fourth in La Liga.

The 25-year-old Uruguayan puts his transformation down to having had a run of games in the first team and enjoying the backing of his coach, Manuel Pellegrini.

"Footballers all over the world need to have confidence from the coach," he told BBC Sport.

"They need to have minutes on the pitch. If you are a substitute and only play for a couple of minutes, it's difficult to settle in.

"Every coach has his own players. Maybe I was not the player that Sir Alex (Ferguson) liked, which is fair enough. He can choose - that's why he's the manager.

"But here I am getting a lot of time on the pitch and I know the coach has faith in me."

Forlan joined United from Argentine side Independiente for £7.5m in January 2002.

Forlan scored 17 goals for United
"If you come from a long distance and everything is new and different, you are going to struggle," he said.

"But I was very happy because I was at a great club with a great manager. I was only 22 and I was learning.

"Yet the years went past and still I was not getting a chance. I was training well, then come the Saturday or Sunday I wasn't in the team.

"I would come on and have a chance and score and then I would find myself on the bench.

"Sometimes I was not even on the bench - I could see I was losing support."

Forlan says he knew his time was up when Ferguson signed Louis Saha from Fulham last January.

"I was not surprised they were willing to sell me because I could see things coming.

"Saha was signed and then I was not getting many minutes on the pitch.

"You need to play as the career of the football player is short - that's why I wanted to move on.

"You don't like seeing the games from the outside."

Despite his testing time at United, Forlan says he still holds the club and its manager in the highest regard.

"I was on very good terms with Sir Alex, even at the end. He was perfect - a nice person and a great manager.

"He understood my position and he let me go because he knew it was going to be difficult for me to play.

"And the fans were great. From the moment I arrived in Manchester they were supportive and I appreciated that.

Riquelme is a great player - he can do everything

Diego Forlan
"I spoke with everyone in the team - they were nice guys. I had a good relationship with Mikael Silvestre, Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand, John O'Shea and Kleberson.

"I was really happy in England. Maybe the weather was not as I would have liked but I had friends and settled in."

Forlan is already Villareal's leading scorer in a season in the top flight of Spanish football, with 17 goals.

He has been flourishing on the service of Argentine winger Riquelme.

"Riquelme is a great player, a great talent. He's a great passer and knows how to read and control the game.

"He can do everything - keep the ball, shoot and score goals. He really is a great player."

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"Footballers all over the world need to have confidence from the coach," he told BBC Sport.

"They need to have minutes on the pitch. If you are a substitute and only play for a couple of minutes, it's difficult to settle in.

"Every coach has his own players. Maybe I was not the player that Sir Alex (Ferguson) liked, which is fair enough. He can choose - that's why he's the manager.

"But here I am getting a lot of time on the pitch and I know the coach has faith in me."
ALL the Credit to Forlan ... Hes the one scoring the goals .... Then Even MORE credit to Pelle, because he's the one who MANDATES whos on the field of play !!!


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Villarreal moves into third :D; Barcelona continues to pull away :(

March 14, 2005

VILLARREAL, Spain (Ticker) - Villarreal increased its chances to qualify for next season's Champions League with a dominating 4-1 victory Sunday over Espanyol.

With the win, Villarreal jumped two points ahead of Espanyol for third place in the Spanish Primera Liga. The top four teams earn a spot in Europe's top club competition next year.

After Diego Forlan and Espanyol's Alberto Lopo traded goals in the first half, Villarreal pulled away in the second with tallies from Juan Pablo Sorin, Juan Riquelme and Luciano Figueroa.

Espanyol dropped into a fourth-place tie with Real Betis, which posted a 2-1 victory Saturday over Malaga.

Juanito Juanito gave Real Betis the lead four minutes into the game and Luis Edu doubled the advantage in the 17th minute with a strike that got past goalkeeper Francesco Arnau.

Malaga got back in the game when Joao Fernando Baiano tallied in the 25th minute, but could not net the equalizer, despite having numerous opportunities in the second half.

All teams are still chasing first-place Barcelona, which recorded a 2-0 shutout of Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. Anderson Deco and Ludovic Giuly each scored in the first half and goalkeeper Victor Valdes stopped Athletic Bilbao's Jose Etxeberria twice in the final 45 minutes to preserve the clean sheet.

Barcelona is 11 points clear of disappointing Real Madrid, which dropped a 2-1 decision Sunday to Getafe. Raul Aibiol recorded a goal in the first half and Ivan Riki added another in the second for Getafe, which won for the first time in five games.

Real Madrid, which was eliminated from the Champions League earlier in the week, got a meaningless goal from Santiago Solari in the 90th minute.

In other Spanish league matchups, Deportivo La Coruna posted a 1-0 triumph over Albacete; Real Zargoza topped FC Sevilla, 1-0; Levante routed Osasuna, 4-0; Racing Santander cruised to a 3-0 win over Mallorca; Real Sociedad got a late goal from Jose Barkero en route to a 2-1 victory over Numancia; and Atletico Madrid shut out Valencia, 1-0.

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Villarreal On The Up, Valencia Fight Back


Villarreal took a giant stride to securing a place:cap: in next season's Champions League when they beat Athletic Bilbao, while Valencia scored two late goals to earn a point at Real Zaragoza and Real Sociedad won their fourth consecutive home game, this time against Osasuna.
José Mari scored twice as Villarreal beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 in El Madrigal and Diego Forlán drew level with Samuel Eto'o at the top of the scoring charts as he added the third.

The home side opened the scoring after just 11 minutes when Forlán's low cross was turned in by José Mari before Barcelona target, Santi Ezquerro, was picked out by Joseba Etxeberria and he steered the centre past José Reina in the Villarreal goal.

But the Yellow Submarine were in the ascendancy and went ahead again just after the half-hour mark when José Mari headed home a Juán Riquelme corner.

The third goal was, arguably, the best of the night as Forlán sped away from the Athletic defence before slamming the ball inside the near post from the edge of the area 11 minutes after the breakl to put the result beyond doubt.

Valencia earned a 2-2 in La Romareda after a tremendous fightback from two goals behind, but the point did little to help their renewed push for a top four finish.

David Generelo fired the home side in front when his superb effort from 20 yards flew just inside the far post beyond the despairing dive of Santiago Cañizares a minute before the half-time break.

Then four minutes after the restart, Savio's cross was headed over his own keeper by David Albelda and the visitors looked beaten.

Marco Di Vaio had missed five chances in the encounter and was taken off with ten minutes remaining and within two minutes his replacement, Bernardo Corradi, had pulled his team back into the match.

Then, with just five minutes left Los Ché equalised when Marco Caneiro scored, but he was then shown a red card after arguing with the match official, following an initial booking.

Real Sociedad won their local derby by beating Osasuna 2-0 in the Anoeta. Gari Uranga netted the first for the San Sebastian-based side three minutes before the break and Valery Karpin hammered home the second on the stroke of half-time.
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