Top 10 Moments from 100 Years of History

By Ella Zeff

Villarreal CF
Villarreal CF
5 min readMar 7, 2023

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1923 — Back to Where it All Began

Villarreal was founded on March 10th, 1923 as ‘Club Deportivo Villarreal.’ José Calduch, the club’s first President and owner, leased the stadium ‘Campo de Deportes.’ This stadium was located where the current stadium sits today. A few short months later, CD Villarreal played their first friendly match against ‘Red y Star’ from the local province of Castellón, on August 21st, 1923.

1954 — Out with the Old & In with the New

‘Villarreal Club de Fútbol’ was introduced on July 6th, 1954 and the renamed club made their debut on the field on September 12th, 1954. The team was renamed by the Club’s Board of Directors after a season of growth and development.

1967/68 — “The Yellow Submarine”

“Amarillo es el Villarreal… amarillo es… amarillo es” echos during Villarreal games to this day. The story behind the Groguets adopting this famous Beatles song as their nickname started during the 1967/68 season, when a group of young fans played “Yellow Submarine” due to their new yellow uniforms. They hoped that this song would motivate the team as they sought promotion to the Third Division and they were, in fact, successful in their attempt. “The Yellow Submarine” stuck as the team’s nickname and fans still unite themselves through the Beatles famous song.

1997 — The New Boss in Town

The summer of 1997 was one not to forget as Fernando Roig bought the club and became the new owner of Villarreal CF. The Valencian native set a goal to help the team get promoted “within two years” to the highest level of Spanish soccer. In his first season, he made history when the team earned their promotion to the First Division.

In his 26 years with the club, Roig’s Yellows Submarine has played 23 seasons in Spain’s top flight and 18 seasons in UEFA European competitions, and he is currently the longest standing LaLiga president.

1998 — Dreams do Come True

May 24th, 1998 is a day that will be remembered forever. On this day, a goal by Alberto Saavedra sent Villarreal to the First Division of soccer in Spain for the first time ever. This dream was achieved at Multiusos de San Lázaro stadium in their promotion playoff game against Compostela.

This achievement set the tone for each of the following seasons as Villarreal has remained in the top flight of soccer for all but one of their seasons after 1998.

2007/08 — Climbing up LaLiga Standings

The 2007/08 season was the best in Villarreal history as they were LaLiga runners-up, finishing behind Real Madrid. This successful season earned the team a spot in next season’s Champions League, under head coach Manuel Pellegrini. This team continued to reach higher standards as they saw the most success on the road out of the entire league. The Yellows ranked first in this category with 12 total away wins.

2020/21 — Bringing home the Europa League Trophy

History was made during the 2020–2021 season as Villarreal became UEFA Europa League champions!

On May 26th, 2021, Villarreal took down the English powerhouse, Manchester United, in the championship game. The intense match in Gdansk, Poland went to penalties, but Villarreal came out on top in the shootout winning 11–10 and bringing the trophy back home, for the first time in club history. Yellows fans filled the streets and the town of Vila-real celebrated this accomplishment with a parade the next day, becoming the smallest town to ever win the prestigious trophy.

2022 — Competing at the Top

The UEFA Champions League is considered to be the world’s greatest soccer competition and every player dreams of competing in this tournament. Villarreal has earned their spot in this competition in recent years, even making it to the semi-final rounds in 2006 and 2022.

Villarreal traveled to Highbury, London to play Arsenal, but were knocked out of the 2005/06 Champions League semi-final by a narrow defeat. They had another chance in 2021/22, but Villarreal fell short to Liverpool, this time at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Both these efforts were ones to be extremely proud of and will go down with great pride in Villarreal’s history.

2022 — Stadium Makeover

On January 8th, 2017, El Madrigal was remodeled and renamed to its current name, Estadio de la Cerámica. This was an important step for the club as many ceramic companies in the Castellón province became partners for this project. They wanted to show their respect and relationship to this local industry with the renaming of the stadium.

The Estadio de la Cerámica was remodeled once again in 2022, adding a roof, renewable energy solutions, and technological innovations. The stadium seats about 23,000 spectators and was inaugurated on June 17th, 1923, making it one of the oldest stadiums in LaLiga.

2023 — Villarreal’s 100th Year

The 2022/2023 season is a special one as it is the club’s centenary season! March 10th, 2023 will be celebrated as the club’s official 100th year mark.

Tributes have been hosted all season long and the town of Vila-real has shown their support, filling the streets with the Centenary logo. Villarreal is hosting a party on March 10th for fans to celebrate this milestone, purchase limited-edition t-shirts, and enjoy an unforgettable show at the Estadio de la Cerámica.

For more information on the Villarreal CF centenary events, click here.

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