Spain news

Pandianis happy with Villarreal move

August 28, 2012
By Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

New Villarreal striker Walter Pandiani says he is delighted to have joined the club, and his son Nico is happy to be there too.

Walter Pandiani is not the same striker he was way back in 2006, as shown here
GettyImagesWalter Pandiani is not the same striker he was way back in 2006, but is still keen to impress

Walter, 36, will spearhead Villarreal's first team in Spain's Segunda Division, while Nico, 18, will play for Villarreal C, further down the divisions in Group VI of Spain's Tercera Division.

"It is nice to be with your son, who curiously now is half my age," said Walter. "He is happy with the challenge of playing for this great club."

Last season was a disaster from start to finish for Villarreal, who lost all six of their group games in the Champions League and then suffered an unlikely final-day relegation from the Primera Division.

Pandiani senior said he was committed to returning the Yellow Submarine to the top flight where it belonged.

"A club this big does not deserve to be where it is," he said. "I want to add my grain of sand to bring it back to where it should never have left. I will give everything to defend these colours to the death. I hope to have a good season in front of fans who have also shown that they will keep supporting through bad times."

Villarreal have lost a number of key players over the summer, including Borja Valera, Diego Lopez, Marco Ruben, Carlos Marchena, Cristian Zapata, Nilmar and Jonathan De Guzman. New faces at the club include Swedish centre-half Olaf Mellberg, Argentine centre-forward Fernando Cavenaghi and ex-Levante defender Javi Venta.

Former Deportivo la Coruña, Real Mallorca, Birmingham City, Espanyol and Osasuna striker Pandiani, who set himself a target for the season of 15-20 goals, said the current squad was well suited to challenging at its present level.

"The competition in La Segunda is different, although I believe I am ready, with motivation and sacrifice I will come out on top," he said. "I am ready to play and can see that the team has excellent players."

The new look side drew 0-0 at Sabadell last weekend, and have four points from their first two games under new coach Julio Velazquez. They host Guadalajara at El Madrigal on Saturday.

Club president Fernando Roig said the signing of 'El Rifle' showed Villarreal were serious about gaining promotion this season.

"Pandiani shares the enthusiasm we all have to get the team back to the Primera División," Roig said. "As the first two games have shown, it is not going to be easy. Players, coaches and fans, we are all united to achieve our objective. The most difficult challenge is getting goals, and Pandiani will guarantee us some."