The Argentine goalkeeper Gero Rulli and his compatriot, the defender Juan Foyth, have given a decisive boost to Villarreal so that the club chaired by Fernando Roig has obtained the Europa League by beating Manchester United this Wednesday in the penalty shootout (11-10 ) from the final of the competition, held in Gdansk (Poland).
Both players have entered the history of the Castellón club as champions, along with Ramiro Funes Mori from Argentina, who did not have minutes in the final, but was lined up in some games, both in the group stage and in the subsequent qualifiers.
In this way, Rulli and Foyth, both originally from La Plata and from Estudiantes, join the long list of players from Argentina who have entered the history of Villarreal.
Among them are Juan Román Riquelme, Martín Palermo, Rodolfo Arruabarrena, Sebastián Battaglia, Juan Pablo Sorín, Fabricio Coloccini, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Juan Antonio Pizzi, Guille Franco, Ariel Ibagaza or Mateo Musacchio.
Gero Rulli is the protagonist of the two key photographs of an unusual final, which arrived at minute 120 with a 1-1 tie on the scoreboard and which required the unthinkable figure of twenty-two penalties to be resolved.
In addition, he did so with the peculiarity, probably unprecedented in elite football, that they had reached a maximum penalty each of the twenty-two players on the field of play and that the first twenty-one scored. Only the goalkeeper of the English team, David de Gea, who took the last shot, missed.
Rulli did not miss, however, who stopped the last shot moments after having scored the twenty-first penalty of the series with a shot placed at the corner, which crowned him as the hero of the final.
With 29 years old, Rulli, a native of La Plata, has played in the Europa League like Villarreal after being a substitute in the League championship, since he came to the club to cover the backs of the owner of recent years, Sergio Asenjo, and the coach , Unai Emery, decided to alternate the goalkeepers depending on the competitions.
After having played for Estudiantes de La Plata, Real Sociedad and Montpellier, Rulli has lived in this game the least predictable experience of his career, because in a few minutes he “kicked and converted a penalty and cut another”, something that could not have been remotely passed through his mind, not even when the shots of the decisive batch began, as he pointed out after the game.
Juan Foyth, for his part, played in the final after a technical decision specially programmed by his coach, who hastened his chances of recovery after having been injured in recent weeks, so he reappeared in the final.
He did it as a right-handed winger, a position in which Emery has used him for a good part of the season, although he was on the verge of having a testimonial step through the game as a result of the blow he received to the head after ten minutes of play.
There were doubts about his return to the game and the team spent several minutes with one less man while his head was protected with a white bandage, which made him unmistakable throughout the game, and the doctors tried to stop him from a nosebleed that was very close it was to prevent him from returning.
Foyth, 23 years old and who went from Student to Tottenham Hotspur English, a club that has loaned him to Villarreal, perfectly covered his plot and was substituted in the last moments before extra time.
Both footballers were key in a match that remains forever in the history of Villarreal as it was the most important of its first century of life, but also in world football, due to the significance of a European final and but also due to the circumstances in the one that was resolved.
THE SUMMARY OF THE MATCH