Fernando Roig This week he has celebrated 25 years as president of Villarreal. An emotional date that serves to make an important balance for the many successes achieved during this period. Pending that his team can certify a new Europe classification this weekend, Roig is clear that being in a continental competition or not will mark the preparation of the squad for next season
I recently turned 25 at the helm of the club, an emotional date…
It was 25 years ago at a party like the one we are in Vila-real today where we started the “new” Villarreal project. It’s always nice to remember. The truth is that many things have been achieved. I didn’t think we would be so high up, that we were going to achieve so many successes, but being in the First Division I know was the goal we wanted. Getting a title is very difficult because there are many very good clubs that want to get it every year and that makes it very difficult. Since we came up, 25 years have passed, with 19 in the First Division and three in the Second Division, as well as 16 playing in Europe, which is very good
And now, the objective is that the year of the centenary there are already 17 in Europe and play the Conference?
Yes, although we know that we have it difficult because we will have to get a good result in Barcelona, but we are going for it. We want to have a good finish and finish seventh in the Spanish league. Of the 20 First teams, only seven play in Europe and you have to give it value
Promotions, a European title, Champions League semi-finals… With so many successes, it shouldn’t be easy, but what moment do you have in these 25 years?
With the culmination of all the work, as was the match against Liverpool. Despite the fact that the great reaction of the public was a defeat, that communion that was experienced between fans and players, between the public and the club. No one left, people stayed to experience it with the team. On March 10, 2023 we will be able to be in the Stadium with the works already finished and that will be a good icing on the centenary.
Knowing him to be very aware of supervising the works of the stadium
If we want it to go quickly, we should not waste a moment. The batteries have already been put in. I go almost every day to see how it goes. The start is good and we have to continue very quickly to be able to play on December 28 and on matchday 15 of the league, as we said. The preference will look very good, it will be a privileged location with a spectacular front row, with better conditions and a higher price, yes.
Do we have to wait until the end of the league for Roig to give a grade to the season?
No, the most important note for me is to be one more year in first class. If we can be in Europe, better. The difference is that we have reached the semifinals of the Champions League, we have enjoyed it a lot and we have eliminated teams like Juve or Bayern and we have competed with Liverpool until the end. We have been eliminated, we will see if for the champion or runner-up of Champions
Would it be a stick for the club at a sporting and economic level not to be in Europe?
It would be to have something less, of course. But we would also approach the league differently with only two competitions. It would have its positive side and also its negative. But Villarreal’s aspiration is always to be in Europe, something that we have been achieving in recent years and that I hope to be able to achieve this year.
Does it force you to a lot of restructuring of the project? Does it change a lot to play a competition like the Conference and not do it in the Europa League as they have done for so many seasons?
No, between the Conference and the Europa League it doesn’t change us that much. What changes is being in Europe or not when facing a season with more or fewer games at squad level. That sure changes something.
Therefore, not being in Europe will force them to sell players and change the idea of the squad…
I don’t know right now. We would have to study the template, the budget… it is clear that it changes, logically. Decisions would have to be made, we’ll see what kind. Depending on how it comes. It will depend on many things, whether they come to sign players or not… The squad would be shorter by playing fewer games. But we are going to finish the season well and then we’ll see, Only seven Spaniards will be in Europe, let’s not think that by playing in the Champions League semi-finals we have everything done. It is difficult, there is nothing easy in football.
Roig’s idea is to continue making a good team and return to compete with the best?
That’s right. We always try to make a team that we want to be better than the previous year. That does not change and we continue with the same policy
Have you received offers for players after a year of so many showcases like that in the Champions League?
First we are going to finish the season this weekend and try to get into Europe . There will be time to sit down and plan for the season ahead. We’ll see what happens. We’ll give ourselves a few days and get to work because the next league starts soon.
Are you excited at the moment of public applause for José Manuel Llaneza this past weekend?
Yes, we all get excited, me too. It was an exciting moment. We wish him to fight, to recover and that next year, with the new field, he will be with all of us with great enthusiasm for everything to come.