La Liga News: "Barcelona, Atletico steal our 15-year-olds" - Villarreal owner attacks the top teams
What is the story?
Villarreal CF owner blames the likes of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for poaching their best and most talented youth players.
In case you didn’t know….
Villarreal and Barcelona contested in an eight-goal thriller at the Estadio de la Ceramica that ended 4-4. Goals from the Brazilian duo Philipe Coutinho and Malcom gave the Catalans a two-goal lead before Villareal staged a staggering comeback. First, 19-year-old Samuel Chukwueze halved the deficit before Karl Toko Ekambi, Vicente Iborra and Carlos Bacca completed a remarkable revival and put them in a strong position to pull off a famous win. But Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez had different plans as both netted in stoppage time to complete an astounding rescue job.
Villarreal fielded four players who came through the academy in this match and are famed for their impressive youth system in Spain. When the Spanish billionaire Fernando Roig bought the club in 1997, he had a simple philosophy: "Play good football, invest in youngsters and owe nothing to anyone.” And the club has stayed true to their owner’s philosophy by producing some brilliant footballers over the years. Santi Cazorla, Pepe Reina, and Giuseppe Rossi are three names that came through their doors.
Heart of the matter:
Fernando Roig talked about his disappointment at losing promising youngsters at the hands of the La Liga giants:
"It hurts us that Barcelona and Athletico steal our 15-year-olds because they aren't yet professional"
Every year we're robbed by the big teams, every year we have players taken from us, this is because we have the best youth system in Spain."
Talking about the enthralling game against the leaders, he said:
"It's Barcelona, we played a fantastic game, we've come back in a similar manner to how we did against Celta Vigo,"
"We're a great team and we've come back against Barcelona.
"In the end it's a point that Barcelona have gained and two we've lost."
As the Spanish side find themselves in a relegation battle, Roig urged his team to keep fighting:
"We're in a difficult moment, we have a good team but we had many injuries today,"
"We have eight games left and when we play like we did today and in the first half against Celta Vigo, we're a great team.
"We must be brave and continue fighting with our heads up."
Villarreal CF will play Real Betis on Monday in the La Liga and they also have a quarterfinal tie with Valencia in the Europa League to look forward to.