Villarreal has won the 2020-2021 Europa League after a tight win against Manchester United in the final. Their head coach Unai Emery is definitely the one that has an enormous contribution to this title. So, what’s unique about him and what he’s been through to achieve this record? Find it out below! 👇


Early life

Unai Emery, full names are Unai Emery Etxegoien, was born on the 3rd day of November 1971 in Hondarribia, Spain. Unai was born into a strong football family background; his father Juan Emery, and his grandfather Antonio Emery are both goalkeepers. Even his uncle Roman Emery played as a midfielder.

However, his ambitions of becoming a footballer himself never became a passing fancy. He believed finishing high school is more important than his footballing quest. While at high school, Unai Emery got several opportunities to play competitive soccer, especially during sports periods.


Player career

Unai Emery started his youth career at a relatively late age (16 years old) in 1986. In the year 1990, he was deployed to the Real Sociedad B team; after being promoted to the Real Sociedad senior team, Unai Emery felt club sick and decided to change clubs.

He spent the rest of his career in several Spain’s second division clubs (Racing Ferrol, Leganos, and Lorca Deportiva CF) before he suffered a knee injury which saw an abrupt and painful end to his illustrious career.

After being forced into retirement as a player, he was offered the manager’s role at his final club Lorca Deportivo



Early manager career

Unai Emery started his coaching career at Lorca Deportivo. He immediately helped the club achieve promotion to the second division for the first time in the club’s history. He was awarded the Miguel Munoz Trophy as coach of the season. In his second season, he helped the team to finish fifth with 69 points.

Emery then moved to Almeria in division two and helped the club achieve promotion to La Liga for the first in the club’s history. In his second season, he guided the Andalusian to the eighth position in 2007/2008 La Liga.  


Valencia career

After outstanding performances, Unai Emery was signed to be the new Valencia head coach, succeeded Ronal Koeman. Emery led Los Che to a sixth-place finish in his first season despite the club’s serious financial problems. 

In the next three seasons, Unai Emery led Valencia to third place consecutively. However, he didn’t do much in the European competition and Copa del Rey. The best thing he achieved is to reach the Europa League semi-final before losing to Atletico Madrid. 


Spartak Moscow career

He moved to the Russian club on 13 May 2012 with a two-year contract. However, he was sacked after only six months due to a 1-5 derby home loss against Dynamo Moscow.


Sevilla career

This is the prime period of his career: Unai Emery led Sevilla to win three Europa League consecutively. The first title came in the 2013/2014 season, in which Sevilla beat Benfica on penalties. The second title came in the 2014/2015 season, in which they defeat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-2 with a goal from Grzegorz Krychowiak and a brace from Carlos Bacca. And the last title came in the 2015/2016 season, in which they made an astonishing come-back against Liverpool with the final score of 3-1 to secure their fifth Europa League title. 


Paris Saint-Germain career

Paris Saint-Germain signed a two-year deal on 28 June 2016. He won one Ligue 1 title, two Coupe de France, two Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophee des Champions. However, Unai Emery only led Paris Saint-Germain to the round of 16 after being defeated by Barcelona (with a legendary 6-1 return) and Real Madrid. 



Unai Emery had a great start with Arsenal by having a 22-games unbeaten run. However, Arsenal capitulated towards the end of the season, and finish the season in the fifth position. Emery yet again reached a Europa League final but was unsuccessful as Arsenal was beaten 4-1 by Chelsea. In the 2019/2020 season, following a series of poor results and a winless run of seven games, Emery was sacked by Arsenal.



On 23 July 2020, Emery was announced as the new head coach of La Liga side Villarreal. He broke the club record of 18 matches unbeaten after a 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao. He led Villarreal to the first European title after winning Manchester United on penalties. 



Author: Kuyet @ TrophyRoom 


Image sources:

El Comercio: Fallece a los 82 años Juan Emery, exportero del Sporting y padre del entrenador del Sevilla

Mirror: Unai Emery reveals he used to bet on his own team to lose

The National News: Unai Emery far beyond forgiven by Valencia ahead of Arsenal clash

Sky Sports: Unai Emery not committing himself to Sevilla after Europa League win

Daily Mail: PSG appoint former Sevilla manager Unai Emery to replace Laurent Blanc

London Football: Every word Emery said on Arsenal atmosphere, his future and Southampton

Fot Mob: Emery makes history with Europa League title as Villarreal conquer Man Utd




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