Comparisons are odious, they say, but there is the myth of David and Goliath, as hackneyed as it is adjusted to what this Wednesday is up to Villarreal on the Champions League. those of Emery they are the humblest team of the four semifinalists of this edition of the Champions League, and in Anfield meet a Goliath that has no less than six Champions League titles in his bag, the Liverpool.
Villarreal can boast of the Europa League won last year on penalties against Manchester United as well as two Intertoto Cups (in 2003 and 2004), in addition to having been on the brink of a Champions League final in 2006. But the track record of this club from a Castellón municipality of 50,000 inhabitants cannot overshadow the titles internationals won by the Reds.
Liverpool has won six Champions Leagues, the last one in 2019, as well as succumbing in three finals, the last one in 2018 against Real Madrid in Poland. The English club also boasts three Europa League and four UEFA Super Cup trophies. In total, no less than 14 international titles, a whole baggage to instill respect for Europe.
In December of last year, the Villarreal approved a budget of 138.7 million euros for the current exercise. Only with its tour in the Champions League, the club under the management of Fernando Roig has secured 57.67 million euros in bonuses from UEFA (not counting TV rights), that is, more than a third of its initial budget. The main sponsor, the ceramics company Pamesa (whose president is Roig), in turn injects some 3.7 million euros a year into the club, leaving a more than respectable amount in Villarreal’s coffers.
Of course, when submitting these figures in comparison with the accounts of the English club, which this season has entered 550.4 million euros according to the auditor Deloitte and is the 7th largest in Europethe dispute seems strongly lopsided.
the masses salaries They also do not support comparison: while Villarreal’s amount rises to 143 million euros for the current season, Liverpool’s is around 314 million euros without taking into account the famous clauses or satellite agreements.
The stadiums are not of the same caliber either. The mythical Anfield is twice as big as the Ceramic stadium (54,000 seats compared to 23,000) and has one of the most faithful and numerous stands of faithful in English territory.
In its first participation in the Champions League in 2005-2006 (where it reached the semi-finals), the Spanish club had to carry out works on its stadium, then called El Madrigal, to comply with UEFA regulations and be able to host the matches, although today Today, with the renovated La Cerámica stadium, the aesthetics of the stadiums have entered into a less unequal dispute.
The Villarreal training center, very close to the stadium, is a reflection of the size of the club, although it includes a mini-stadium where Villarreal’s affiliates usually play and other nearby fields, as well as a residence for the players and other facilities. In November 2020, Liverpool left the classic Melwood training center after 70 years to take possession of their new training venue in Kirkby, northeast of the city, which cost €56m to set up.
In October 2010, Liverpool, in financial difficulties, was bought by the group of American investors Fenway (then New England Sports Ventures) for around 340 million euros, including debt..
Among the main investors is John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, or the current president of the club, Tom Werner. A few years later, NBA star LeBron James also bought a piece of Liverpool.
The Villarreal, on the other hand, has been held for 24 years by the Roig family, owner of the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona and the Pamesa ceramic group, who advocate showing their influence throughout the province of Castellón and beyond, strongly betting on grassroots sports, not just football.
On May 15, 1997, Fernando Roig Alfonso bought Villarreal, then in the 2nd Division, for 432,000 euros and took it to the top thanks to an ambitious project that bears fruit years later. In October 2021, Forbes estimated his fortune at $1.9 billion.
Not quite used to being among the top four in the Spanish league, Villarreal entered a new dimension with the arrival in 2020 of Unai Emerywhich has taken the club to the continental top first with the Europa League and, later, with the feat of reaching, for now, the semifinals of this edition.
Jurgen Kloppalso returned its splendor to the English club since its arrival in 2015, but for Liverpool, the Champions League is not a dream, it is a goal, both by budget and by name, so today’s game is a new clash between ships unequal, but if a slingshot was enough for David, what can a Villarreal do that has already left Juventus and Bayern on the road.
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