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Martín Palermo, the signing that sent shockwaves around the football world
Martín Palermo, the signing that sent shockwaves around the football world

Villarreal surprised the football world by signing the Argentine star

In the summer of 2000, Villarreal were preparing for their return to LaLiga. For the second time in their history, and after a year away from the top flight, the Yellow Submarine were preparing to compete once more amongst the elite, and to do that, they were hoping to build a sporting project that would let them consolidate themselves among the big clubs in Spain.

Keeping a lot of the heroes from the promotion, Villarreal strengthened with players such as Rodolfo Arruabarrena, Quique Álvarez, and Víctor Fernández, who would be players that would define an era. With Víctor Muñoz managing the team, the Submarine had a good start to the season. At the end of the first set of fixtures, the Yellows were tenth, nine points away from the relegation zone.

In the winter transfer market, Villarreal, surprising the football world, confirmed the signing of Argentine striker Martín Palermo. An idol in his country, the Boca Juniors forward was in the sweet spot of his career and fans around the world had the brace that he scored against Real Madrid in the Intercontinental Cup a few months ago fresh in their minds.

The press across Spain went big with the signing. The Yellow Submarine had signed one of the best players on the planet, wanted by a lot of European sides.

The Yellows’ fans were excited about the signing. More than 1,000 fans went to meet the Argentine star as he arrived at Valencia Airport. There were even more people, more than 10,000, who went to see his presentation at El Madrigal to welcome him to his new club.

Martín Palermo (La Plata, 7th November 1973) is one of the most emblematic players of Argentine football in recent times. ‘El Loco’ played for the Yellows during the 2000/01, 2001/02 and 2002/03 seasons. He featured in 81 games, scoring 21 goals.

Arriving at El Madrigal as a superstar, the Argentine striker didn’t have continuity in the team while playing for the Yellows. In November 2001, after an impressive goalscoring start, he broke his tibia and fibula, after having score a goal in added time of the cup tie against Levante UD at the Ciutat de València. Palermo approached the visiting fans to celebrate the goal with them, but a small wall gave way and collapsed on him.

After his spell at Villarreal CF, he played for other Spanish clubs such as Real Betis and Deportivo Alavés, before returning to his country to play once more for Boca Juniors, where he is considered a legend.