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24 years since the start of a dream
24 years since the start of a dream

An Alberto Saavedra goal saw Villarreal earn promotion to the top flight of Spanish football

Today, 24th May 2022, is the 24th anniversary of Villarreal’s much dreamed-about first promotion to the top flight of Spanish football. It happened at the Estadio Multiusos de San Lázaro where the Submarine beat Compostela in the promotion play-offs. In fact, it was the end of the Sant Pasqual regional festivities, and it looked tough and everyone was nervous, but a great Alberto Saavedra goal changed the entirety of the town’s panorama. On 24th May 1998, Villarreal were promoted to the top flight after surprising Santiago de Compostela with a draw (1-1) which send the Submarine to the top of Spanish football.

The Yellows were able to overcame a goalless draw at home and Compostela were favourites – they were the top-flight team – to get the win at the Multiusos de San Lázaros. It was the Yellows who went ahead with a spectacular right-footed shot from outside the box, that ended up winning promotion. The away team and their supporters didn’t have it easy though. In the 75th minute, Chiba equalised for the Galician side and the Yellows had a tense last 15 minutes before euphoria at the full-time whistle.

Since then, Villarreal CF has played in the top flight of Spanish football for a total of 23 seasons, even finishing runners-up on one occasion (2007/08 season). In Europe, counting next season, Villarreal will have played in European competition for 18 seasons (16 without counting the Intertoto Cup). The standout achievement was lifting the UEFA Europa League title last season. As well, with Fernando Roig as president, the Yellows have reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals twice and become a stable top-flight side.