While it’s not over and done quite yet, there’s a strong possibility that Villarreal might be relegated from the top tier of Spanish football for the first time since 2011/12’s shock expulsion.
The fight goes on but a 2-1 defeat against Real Betis on Sunday left the Yellow Submarine on 30 points, inside the relegation zone on goal difference with just seven games of the season remaining and, slightly incongruously, a Europa League quarter-final against Valencia to squeeze in too.
The loss against Betis was all too much to take for Santi Cazorla, whose miraculous return to form has been one of just a few sparse highlights in Villarreal’s dour domestic season.
Indeed, an 89th-minute penalty miss at the Estadio Benito Villamarin saw the 34-year-old midfielder reduced to tears in the aftermath….
— Javi Mata (@javimatagil) 7 April 2019
Ain’t it enough to break your heart in two?
Cazorla returned to boyhood side Villarreal last summer having missed nigh-on two years of football with a horrendous chronic achilles tendon injury.
He has since played his way back into a starting berth like a man who didn’t have to have half of his forearm (including tattoo) emergency-grafted to his foot a November or two ago.
Of course, he’s got absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but that probably won’t stop him feeling entirely responsible for Sunday’s result.