I do not know if you saw it, or if these things are just goalkeeper issues, but in the repetition of the penalty saved by Rulli, that 22nd record shot in European competitions, you see Gerard Moreno who, at the same time as the ball He comes out from inside De Gea’s foot, he starts to run because he sees that Rulli has chosen the good side. Gerard, as an excellent striker and also a penalty specialist, has just seen, a second before everyone on the pitch and those of us who followed the game on television, that this was the chance to win that final.
And if you advance a couple of seconds in that image you will see Rulli ensuring the clearance (he had already missed one on Shaw’s penalty) and how, as he fell, with the ball already far from the goal, a smile lit up his face, a tenth before hitting the ground, a tenth after Gerard but a tenth before all the rest. A smile of relief, happiness, satisfaction and pride in what has been achieved. A smile a second before being swallowed by the pineapple of yellow shirts that fell on him.
And Villarreal took a trophy that the betting said would travel to Manchester, perhaps with the idea of waiting until Saturday and collecting the two main trophies of European club football in the same city. English football summarized in the Manchester community.
We have already discussed that there are as many ways to play soccer as there are teams. Or more. But what I liked about Villarreal is that when he had to play what he least liked and Manchester United pushed him against his area, took the ball from him and forced all the players to make a solidarity effort behind the ball, they did. There were no defectors or excuses or freed from dirty work. He played run, collide, close and shrink, verbs that are not the favorites of the yellow ones, which are more liked with building, touching, opening or deepening. But friends, it was not just a final but it was a date for history. And they all rolled up their sleeves to continue rowing, to continue with possibilities against a powerful opponent, physical, powerful and with many players of extraordinary talent.
The exercise was so supportive that it was even necessary for everyone to shoot their penalty. No, better still, that everyone transform their penalty to be able to win, to be able to continue having the possibility of winning. And Villarreal ascended to the European skies closing a virtuous circle that began last century, which went through difficult moments with the relegation to Second Division but which returned better and stronger, with its project even clearer, with its clean decision processes, fast and effective to confirm that talent in management is not directly linked to the final budget figure, that is, it is not true that the higher the budget, the greater the talent, but only those with the highest budget monopolize more minutes of information and while both teams such as Villarreal or Real Sociedad, to give us two examples, are leaving us lessons in project, teamwork, effectiveness and efficiency. And discretion.
I am about to assure you that this coming summer, in which we all hope to regain a good share of normalcy, more than a bus full of English tourists will appear in Vila-real eager to know who are those irreducible yellow ones who had robbed them a cup that they counted as safe. It would be necessary to prepare a tourist tour that goes through the key points, that passes in front of Unai Emery’s house to explain to them that this guy would already be a legend in their England with his four Europa League wins and that he returns them to their country counting the excellences of the city and its people. They will surely want to finish with paella and sangria to eat and to recover from the upset that they took away.