Villarreal Captain Bruno Soriano Makes First Appearance In Over 3 Years

Many had come to doubt whether the 36-year-old would ever play again.

In the summer of 2016, Bruno Soriano was representing Spain at the Euros while appearing in two group stage matches. He followed that up with another inspirational season as Villarreal’s captain, appearing in 45 games across all competitions while scoring five goals and adding three assists from his defensive midfield position.

Then, for effectively three seasons, nothing — not a single appearance for his beloved Yellow Submarine.

In some ways, his story isn’t that much different from teammate Santi Cazorla, who spent 635 days on the sideline before spectacularly returning to his best.

A notoriously private individual, Villarreal supporters had to rely on sparse updates from the club regarding Bruno’s situation. It first became clear that he’d miss the entirety of the 2017-18 season with a mysterious left knee injury, but things spiraled from there as the knee failed to properly recuperate and injury reoccured, followed by an issue with the patellar tendon in his left leg. 

The 2018-19 season passed without Bruno making an appearance, and then the 2019-20 campaign figured to go the exact same way. Now at the age of 36 and with his contract set to expire this summer, a fitting end to Bruno’s time with Villarreal seemed impossible.

But on Monday, Bruno made his long-awaited return when replacing Paco Alcácer in the 88th minute of Villarreal’s 2-2 draw with Sevilla.

Hailing from the Castellón province, Bruno is Villarreal through and through. He rose through the academy and competed for the reserve sides before making his first team debut in 2006.

Over the following 14 years, Bruno has now made 417 appearances for the club, scoring 31 goals and providing 25 assists. He’s avoided approaches from other clubs — including a large offer from Valencia — while sticking with the Yellow Submarine during its most difficult times, including the 2012-13 drop to the Segunda División.

Today, he got the moment he so thoroughly deserved by returning to competitive action for the first time in 1,128 days.

On the pitch, Villarreal twice led, but Sevilla responded on both occasions with fantastic goals from Sergio Escudero and Munir El Haddadi.

Escudero Goal

Munir Goal

During his short time on the pitch, Bruno picked up a yellow card. That’s the defensive midfielder’s equivalent of scoring a goal.

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