Why Multifaceted Bruno’s Such A Valuable Asset To Villarreal In All Aspects Of The Game

Bruno Villarreal

A splendid free kick from Villarreal’s captain, Bruno Soriano, proved the difference as Marcelino’s Yellow Submarines sunk Gary Neville’s Valencia 1-0 at the Madrigal.

In a cagey affair that saw both sides complete less than 62% of their passes, Bruno’s slickness and polish from central midfield, which saw him operating at an 83% success rate, was undoubtedly a deciding factor in the triumph.

An equally pivotal facet, however, was his intelligent, purposeful movement. Operating within Marcelino’s customary 4-4-2 formation, Bruno exhibited his fantastic understanding and appreciation of space, plus his relentless work-rate, to always exploit unoccupied gaps throughout Valencia’s 5-3-2 shape in which to receive possession.

When Villarreal looked to pass out from the back, Alvaro Negredo and Paco Alcacer would regularly drop back and close off central areas, meaning this area was difficult for Villarreal’s central midfielders, Manu Trigueros and Bruno, to pick up possession in. Bruno swiftly noticed this and duly recalibrated his approach. With Valencia’s central midfielders, Dani Parejo, Danilo and Andre Gomes, also being quick to populate central areas, Bruno’s nifty decision to push wide to the flanks, in order to get more involved, worked a treat.

Inherently, sides playing a 5-3-2 tend to be rather narrow, and this certainly proved to be the case for Valencia in this clash. Bruno predominantly drifted over to the left, where he successfully obtained the freedom he craved to instigate Villarreal’s attacking forays.

With Victor Ruiz, Villarreal’s left sided centre-back, left-back Adrian Marin and Denis Suarez, from his left-wing post, all within close proximity on the left, Bruno had a smorgasbord of options to use. Statistics from StatsZone aptly illustrate how the majority of the 44 passes he received were in left-sided areas. Moreover, the aforementioned trio found him on 19 separate occasions to further emphasise the effectiveness of this tactic to overload this flank.

Statszone Bruno

Now with vast amounts of space to operate in, Bruno had plenty of time to distribute the ball under little duress. He used his vision and range of passing to accurately find teammates in between the lines and use wicked diagonals to switch the play, which combined to continually unsettle the Bats’ defensive setup.

To add futher sheen to his influential body of work, the 31-year-old would also mark Negredo whenever Valencia had a goal kick. Jaume Domenech would persistently search for the towering forward, but the languid Bruno used his aerial prowess to win the majority of the pair’s duels to shut down this avenue of attack for the away side.

Bruno’s man of the match performance yet again showcased just why his manager, Marcelino, rates his underrated captain as one of the best midfielders in Europe.

“He’s very much a leader for us in all respects, both in the locker room and out on the pitch. From my point of view, there’s very few midfielders in the world at his level, he’s one of best in Europe,” says Marcelino.

It’s hard to argue with the excellent Marcelino’s opinion, for Bruno’s a player who contributes to the side in every aspect of the game. From his penchant for scoring goals to his ability to use his telescopic legs to cut out attacks, much like Nemanja Matic does for Chelsea, and everything in between, the supremely fit former Spain international always puts in a shift every time he enters the field of play for his beloved club, who he’s played for throughout his entire professional career.

His remarkable career with the Yellow Submarines is made all the more amazing when you consider that he actually left the club after not initially settling into life in the city. Upon returning home to Artana, Bruno worked in a mine and played football with his mates. Thankfully, however, Juan Carlos Garrido conviced him to return to the youth team in 2004.

And, as they say, “the rest is history,” for Bruno’s unquestionably enjoyed a very special career with Villarreal that’s spanned over a decade. Long may the man who embodies the club’s spirit and philosophy so brilliantly continue for many more years to come.