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Villarreal allowed their legendary former captain Bruno Soriano to lift a trophy in wonderful scenes last night.
For the first time in their history, the Yellow Submarine won a trophy after beating Manchester United 11-10 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the Europa League final.
Skipper Raul Albiol was the man who collected the historic piece of silverware for Unai Emery's side but there was also a special moment when the players encouraged Bruno to have a moment with the trophy.
Legendary ex-Villarreal captain Bruno Soriano chose to retire from football in July 2020, after recovering from a knee injury that he battled with for three years.- Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 26, 2021
Tonight he got to lift the Europa League trophy with his former teammates...
A special moment :raised_hands:#UELfinal pic.twitter.com/yoGRyZkvQF
A one club-man, the 36-year-old made 425 appearances for Villarreal and played for them when they were in the Segunda Division in 2012/13.
Because or persistent knee problems that required subsequent surgeries, the former Spain international spent an extended period on the sidelines and felt that he "lost part of his life".
After over three years away from the pitch, he then made an emotional return to action against Sevilla in June 2020 but elected to retire from football just a month later.
If you need some motivation, just look at this. After 3 years, one month and one day Bruno Soriano returns to a football pitch.- Alexandra Jonson (@AlexandraJonson) June 22, 2020
He is 36 years old. Most people would have given up, retired, he didn't. Three years, two surgeries and several set-backs later BRUNO is back! pic.twitter.com/2LZ4Okiy0a
It meant he missed out on the Europa League triumph but having travelled to Gdansk alongside fellow icons Marcos Senna and Santi Cazorla, he got to kiss and hold the trophy aloft as Villarreal players cheered.
Speaking prior to the game, Bruno discussed having mixed feelings over not being part of the success due to his retirement.
He told AS: "It is is clear that it passes through your head that they just reach a final the year that you are no longer here, it leaves you with that feeling that it was something you dreamed of and that this was your great illusion throughout your career.
"If the title is won I will not consider it mine as a player, since my time has passed and this is the time of this group. I am out of the club and the dressing room, and this will be theirs.
"But as a follower that I am, I will celebrate it like the most. The president and all the people of the club deserve it, all the people who have been there for so long deserve it. The truth is that I would love for us to win this title."
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