‘Anfield is hell’ says Villarreal’s Capoue


“I said ‘Where is Villarreal?’” explains Etienne Capoue, who describes it like he was scanning a map of the world and pointing his finger down. “I was told it was in the sun, just there, next to Valencia. So I said ‘alright, let’s go’.”

Capoue’s last two games for Watford were in England’s second tier against Norwich and Huddersfield. He left in January 2021 and his last two games of that season for Villarreal came against Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Villarreal beat United on penalties to win the Europa League final and Capoue was named man of the match. On Tuesday, Villarreal, the club Capoue knew nothing about, face Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.

A small, sleepy town on Spain’s east coast now has an outside shot at being crowned kings of Europe. “Winning the Champions League? We never had the audacity to say we could win the Champions League,” Capoue tells AFP laughing.

“We’re the smallest club in the semi-finals, we were the smallest club in the quarter-finals. We’re just making our merry way. And we have nothing to lose.” Villarreal knocked out Juventus in the last 16 and Bayern Munich in the quarters, two clubs that together own twice as many European Cups – eight – as Villarreal have wins in the knock-out stage.

When Bayern were winning a third consecutive European Cup in 1976, Villarreal were being relegated to the Spanish fourth tier.—APP


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