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The first winners in Brunete
The first winners in Brunete

The 1995 generation were the first to lift the current LaLiga FC Futures trophy in Brunete

The generation of 1995 was a great generation! They were not the first to believe, but they were the first to do it and to make future generations believe that it is possible. In 2007, Villarreal CF won for the first time the famous Torneo de Brunete, which later became known as LaLiga Promises and, since this year, is now known as LaLiga FC Futures. To get an idea of the talent in that generation, a star like Pablo Fornals was not part of the the U12 (Alevín A). With local kids like Rubén Fortuño or Sergio Segura and from the rest of the province, accompanied by some from further afield like Joel Melgarejo, who came from Kelme CF, or Juan Ibiza, who went on to play for Villarreal B and is still a professional footballer, Villarreal conquered the best youth tournament in the world.

One of the curiosities of this team is that Juan Ibiza himself, known as such because he is a native of the island, was the first ever U12 player in the history of the Miralcamp residence, as the youngest players there were U13s. Other players who also made it to Villarreal B, such as the captain Ramón Bueno and Manu Viana, were also part of that winning team.

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Since then, the Submarine have won the trophy twice more, a trophy they have grown very fond of and which they ended up hosting at both the Pamesa Training Ground and the Estadio de la Cerámica. “Since then, I think the club started to take this competition much more seriously. It was already important, but it was unthinkable that you could win it because it was so complicated,” confesses Jorge Peris, head coach of that Villarreal U12 side, now at Al-Rayyan in Qatar.

The Groguets had a very difficult road to win the tournament once they got past the group stage, as they faced Athletic, FC Barcelona and Sevilla from the round of 16 to the semi-finals. Against the Catalan side they were liberated: “We were like the Spanish national team before, we had a burden with the quarter-finals in this type of tournament and we decided to go for it instead of waiting at the back. We took a 2-0 lead and, as the matches were short, we defended the result well,” explains Peris with a smile on his face. And, in the semi-finals, the drama also reigned supreme: “We were 1-0 down because we were so tired from the Barça game, but in the end we managed to equalise and went to penalties. It was a best of three shoot-out. We missed the first one and they scored, but then they missed the next two and we went through to the final,” said the coach from Burriana.

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Villarreal went into the final of the big tournament having lost the league championship against a Valencia side that were unforgiving. “We only lost one game against them there and we drew here when we were 2-0 up,” says the former coach. Future players such as Gayà, Salva Ruiz and Grimaldo played for them. However, they lost at the tournamente against finalists Real Sociedad.

Jorge Peris’s Villarreal defeated Real Sociedad’s Álvaro Odriozola, who missed the final due to injury, with an overwhelming 4-1 win. However, there were other future football stars such as Jon Bautista, Jon Guridi, Martín Marquelanz, Luca Sangalli and Unai López in the squad.

José Manuel Llaneza could not be there because the final coincided with the Villarreal B promotion match, but a representative of the club’s board of directors was present to see how the Yellows Academy’s hard work was beginning to bear fruit.