He persisted because of the position and because of a ball that came from heaven, he kept the ball with his body, cut inwards, raised his head and nailed the goal, flat and adjusted to the opposite post to give a good account of Valladolid, ensure the European presence from Villarreal another year and, incidentally, become the player with the most goals in the First Division in the history of the yellow club. Gerard Moreno (Santa Perpètua de la Mogoda, Barcelona; 29 years old) has signed 55 goals in 126 games for the 54 that Diego Forlán (in 106) and Giuseppe Rossi (in 136) achieved. Nothing new in a player who has not stopped scoring since he put on some boots, although surprising if one takes into account that he did not have it easy until he reached the elite and that he has fully exploded in his maturity. Once settled in La Cerámica, its numbers are stratospheric and it claims a position in the eleven by Luis Enrique for the Eurocup.
Still of the youngest age, Espanyol signed him because he already stood out in his love affair with the goal, then at Damm. “He played the same way as now, he was a scorer with very good movements, very clever and, above all, a good companion,” explains coach Lluís Planagumà, who led him in the Blue and White quarry until he was 13 years old and met again with the passing of time at Villarreal C. Before that, Moreno had to earn the beans because when he entered youth, Espanyol threw him out when they understood that he did not have the body to succeed. So he went to Badalona and in the second year he broke the records of the National League category with 42 goals. Success that Madrid wanted to buy for La Fábrica. Villarreal beat him, a club with which he scored 35 goals in his first season and later became, successively, the top scorer in Third and Second B. B, forced, also did it to Second B. That night he could feel sad about the club and because he did not know if he would make the leap. But they promoted both of us to B and he has made a name for himself again based on goals ”, Planagumà admits; “He has an innate talent for finding the right place and finishing at the right time.”
At Villarreal they did not understand his football, firstly because he was loaned to Mallorca to play in the Second Division, where he gained momentum because he scored 12 goals to save the team from relegation. “It was the reference, the one that kept us alive in the face of goal. You could already see that quality that he now shows because what he touches is a goal, ”says Martí Riverola, now an Andorra player and a good friend of Moreno because every summer they go on vacation, the last to Ibiza.
After that, Moreno returned to La Cerámica, was screwed in the first team and on the bench, reserve of Baptistao and Bakambu, until they decided to sell him to Espanyol for 1.5 million, although with the condition of keeping half of his file federative. Enough to be able to buy it back years later – after four attempts and 20 million – when it had already become the idol of many parakeets as for him it was Tamudo, a capital footballer because he started and finished many of the team’s plays, also cheered for his dislike of Barcelona. “I would like to retire at Espanyol,” he recently acknowledged for a YouTube radio program.
But for that he still has because he is in his best moment, as he recently recognized in a concentration of the national team. “The individual brilliance is also good for the team and for Gerard, who helps us to be better,” said Emery from the Villarreal bench. Rightly so because with his 22 goals – 28 if you add those of the Europa League – he is the seventh in the fight for the Golden Boot, with Lewandowski as the outstanding leader with 39 goals, chased by Messi (29), Ronaldo (28) , Haaland (25), Mbappé (25) and André Silva (25).
It does not resist, in any case, compared to any other national striker. Aspas (Celta) and Rafa Mir (Huesca) count 13 goals. Behind are Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) and Roger Martí (Levante) with 11, Borja Mayoral reaches 10 with Roma, as well as Santi Mina with Celta, and Morata remains at nine with Juve. In the national team he counts five goals and four assists in 10 games.
Now he is just two goals away from being the top scorer in Villarreal’s history among all competitions, adding 80 to Rossi’s 82. He has two La Liga duels left – this Sunday against Sevilla (18.30, Movistar) and the last day against Madrid in Valdebebas—, in addition to the European final against Manchester United. Then it remains to be seen if he is still at Villarreal, who now values his performance and put a 100 million clause on him. Fixed for Unai Emery, because in the five duels that Gerard Moreno has missed in the course, the yellow team only won one and was left without seeing the door in two.
Luis Enrique takes note, now that the Eurocup is just around the corner. “Now there is no other like him”, Planagumà sentence. “He is a player top Worldwide. And it can also be adapted to any attacking position because of how good and smart it is, ”adds Martí Riverola. “In the selection I feel like one more”, replies, humble, the striker. The goal, as in Villarreal, seems his thing.