Villarreal president Fernando Roig has claimed that the decision of sacking Marcelino Garcia Toral was based on the loyalties he had for Sporting Gijon. Toral was relieved from his duties by the La Liga outfit on 10 August 2016 due to differences with the club’s board. However, Roig’s comments have provided a different angle behind the decison that was taken very suddenly last month.

“Years ago we had problems in pre-season and we ended up being relegated to the Segunda. There are some people who won’t understand the decision, but I took it in an attempt to prevent the same thing from occurring. I cannot allow anyone to manage Villarreal in a parallel manner.”

Before facing Sporting Gijon last year, Marcelino stated that he hoped his former club would avoid relegation. The Yellow Submarines lost 2-0 at Estadio El Molinon, thereby handing Gijon safety at the expense of Getafe and Rayo Vallecano. Things became more cryptic after Marcelino’s wife tweeted a simple “Mission Accomplished!” after the game.

The sacking of one of the most beloved managers in La Liga caused an uproar. Marcelino, a veteran manager of the Spanish league, had led Villarreal out of the Segunda and then helped them to three consequent top-six finishes in the La Liga. Last year’s fourth place finish drew plaudits from all sections of the football community and hence, questions were raised as to how could the sudden dismissal be justified by the club. Criticism was also directed at the backroom management and the players for their ‘attitude’ which might have got Marcelino sacked. All such allegations were quashed by Roig himself. The club moved on to appoint former Elche and Getafe manager Fran Escriba as the replacement.

Villarreal resume their La Liga campaign post international break when they travel to La Rosaleda to face Malaga on September 10th.