Portugal international Gonçalo Guedes made his debut for Villarreal on Saturday evening, as the Spanish club look to revive the winger’s career in La Liga.
Guedes returns to the region of Spain where he enjoyed a five-year spell with Valencia, which was followed by a big-money move to English side Wolverhampton Wanderers and a loan stint at former club Benfica in his homeland.
Villarreal were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Mallorca on Saturday, with Guedes coming on for the final twenty minutes as his team led before a stoppage-time equaliser by the visitors. The draw was another setback for the Yellow Submarines, who languish in 14th in the table.
At Villarreal, who are based in the Valencian community in the east of Spain, Guedes will be reunited with his former Valencia manager Marcelino. The respected coach was in charge of Los Ches for a little over two seasons between 2017-2019 and oversaw Guedes’ first couple of campaigns at the Mestalla.
“He’s a high-level footballer if he doesn’t have physical problems, and we don’t think he does,” Marcelino said of Guedes, who arrived on loan from Wolves. “He lacks match rhythm, which is logical, because he hasn’t played much in recent months, but he’s a player who can play in several attacking positions, on the wings and as a striker in the centre.
“We know him well and at the maximum level he is a special player, we have to try to recover him from a physical and mental point of view. We are in January but we know the player and he knows the league, so we will try to get him to help us. I am convinced that he can.
“He played more minutes on the left wing [at Valencia] but I think he was one of the best players in La Liga as a striker, and occasionally he also played on the right. His versatility and virtues, speed and ability to off balance opponents can help us a lot. He has the capacity, we have to enhance it, if he doesn’t have a physical problem we will be able to get him back to a high level.”