Fans of Villarreal, based in a city of about 50,000 people in southeastern Spain, took to the streets on Thursday to celebrate the Europa League title, the club’s first trophy of its kind.
Villarreal won the title with a victory over Manchester United in penalties on Wednesday in Poland.
The team returned home on Thursday and marched through the small town near Valencia. The players then lifted the trophy at the team’s La Cerámica stadium in an event without the presence of fans, but with team leaders and relatives of the players.
Fans lined the streets to congratulate the players, who triumphed with 11:10 in marathon penalties after goalkeeper Geronimo Rully converted his penalty and then stopped the one played by United goalkeeper David de Gea. The game ended 1-1 after extra time.
“Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined a penalty that ended in a penalty and then saved another, especially when it meant a first club title,” Rully said.
The victory also gave Villarreal a place in the Champions League next season, guaranteeing a big economic boost for the club.
The Spanish Yellow Submarine, as the team is known for its yellow uniform and low profile, is run by President Fernando Roig, a local businessman who has led the club since the 1997-98 season and is worth about $ 1.8 billion, according to Forbes. He is the private owner of the largest supermarket chain in Spain and owns a leading ceramic group.
Villarreal finished in the top seven in the Spanish league in seven of the last eight seasons, including this one. His best finish was second place in 2007-08. He reached the semifinals of the Champions League in 2005-06, and the semifinals of the Europa League three different times, the last in 2015-16.
Some famous Villarreal players from the past include Uruguay striker Diego Forlan, Argentina midfielder Juan Riquelme and Spanish midfielder Marcos Senna.