2010 FIFA World Cup: Change in Vila-Real: Fresh Blood Steps In
As most of Villarreal's squad goes on vacation, and as the rest of them get ready for the World Cup, Juan Carlos Garrido prepares what will be a renewed team, inside and out.
In the past couple of days, three players have been confirmed to be let go and all three for different reasons.
Robert Pires, who was expected to work as a representative for the club, was told goodbye rather abruptly in a move that disappointed the Frenchman, who had grown to love the Valencian team.
Javi Venta, one of the team captains and the one who has been in Vila-real the longest, parted ways with his beloved team as well, and is now studying offers. A couple of them are from abroad, but the strongest interest comes from the team of his province,First division Sporting Gijón, where he would be a first choice player.
The third and most surprising goodbye is Argentinean Ariel Ibagaza. The 33-year-old midfielder had agreed to sit down and renew his contract, but after not reaching an agreement with the club, he will be leaving the East coast.
Ariel wanted two years, while Roig only offered him one. The 5'5" player will most likely stay in Spain, where he has played most of his career. Second division Hercules is on the lookout for him.
As these three key players say farewell, Juan Carlos Garrido has made clear he will be leaning on the youngsters team, Villarreal B, to supply the first team.
Villarreal B has had an amazing year, and is currently sixth in the Liga Adelante, the second Spanish division, only one point away from a promotion spot that would not promote the team anyways due to the country's rules.
So far, it is known that at least seven of those players will be promoted to the first team: goalkeeper Juan Carlos; defenders Gaspar, Catalá, and Oriol; midfielders Matilla and Jefferson Montero; and forward Marco Rubén.
Even though some groguets (term for Villarreal's fans) are skeptical about how a batch of younger players will replace key, experienced players such as Pires or Venta, most of the city is excited about how well this kids can perform next season.
Personally, I think both Ecuadorian Montero and defender Catalá could have a big impact in Villarreal's first team, even as first choice players.
Montero is supposed to take Robert Pires's spot, and has already shown he has the potential to do so.
Catalá can play both on the left or the center of the defense, and is ready, at age 26, to make the transition to the first team.
The Spaniard is also very talented when it comes to setting up crosses from the left. With Capdevila most likely past his prime after this World Cup, Jose Catalá could be his natural replacement.
But as Juan Carlos Garrido writes down who will be a part of Villarreal's first year without an European competition since 2003 (unless Mallorca goes officially bankrupt), one name stands above all as the biggest enigma: Jozy Altidore.
The American forward has managed to score only once while on loan at Hull, with the English team not able to avoid relegation to the Championship.
He will be a part of the Yanks' squad in South Africa, and as he did in the Confederations Cup with an amazing game against Spain in the semifinal, he will have to play just as well if he wants to stay in Vila-real through the summer.
Altidore has not said he wants to leave Villarreal as much as just be a part of the starting eleven, something Juan Carlos Garrido could give him if he performs well in the World Cup.
Of all strikers in the Spanish team, some could leave the town in the next weeks, giving Altidore more chances to play. Joseba Llorente has not had a good year, and Valencia could offer 5-6 Million Euro to replace David Villa's escape.
Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar are the first choice for Garrido, with Marco Ruben a close third, but the interest of bigger teams for Rossi could mean a spot for Jozy next year.
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