Tonight, Manchester United and Villarreal have 90 minutes to do something they’ve never done before – scoring against each other.
The two teams will meet in Gdansk in the Europa League final and it is hoped that the teams of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery will put on more show than in the past.
All four previous encounters between United and Villarrreal, which came into the Champions League, ended in 0-0 draws.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) meets Unai Emery (R) in the Europa League final on Wednesday
Manchester United’s four previous encounters with Villarreal have all ended in 0-0 draws
Sir Alex Ferguson and Manuel Pellegrini were at the helm of the games and both had strong teams at their disposal. United had players like Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, while Diego Forlan faced his former side in 2005.
Forlan isn’t the only man to have played for both clubs. Giuseppe Rossi, Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly have all worn the yellow and red shirts during their careers.
With both teams looking to end the season on a high level, Sportsmail takes a look at the history between the two clubs – including all four of those goalless encounters.
Four games, no goals, two red cards
Few teams have been able to frustrate both United and the Spaniards in their four Champions League games between 2005 and 2008.
The two clubs were drawn twice in the same group, with each home and away game ending goalless.
The first meeting came in September 2005, with Forlan lining up for Villarreal against his former club.
But the most important point of the game was Wayne Rooney’s red card in the 64th minute. The English forward was booked for a foul on Quique Alvarez, but his reaction earned him a second yellow card.
Wayne Rooney was sent off during the first meeting between the clubs in September 2005
Rooney applauded sarcastically in the face of referee Kim Milton Nielsen, who famously dismissed David Beckham in the 1998 World Cup after his first yellow card and the attacker’s actions saw him earn a new booking.
Matches between the two clubs have always been tough, with a total of 21 yellow cards across the four matches – with an average of five bookings per match.
The return game at Old Trafford in November 2005 was overshadowed by the dropout after Roy Keane’s departure.
Keane had left United by mutual consent four days earlier after severing his relationship with Ferguson.
But supporters made their views on the situation clear by chanting the Irishman’s name as the manager walked down the sidelines.
Despite United’s dominance over possession, Villarreal limited them to just two shots on target because they were resilient.
The LaLiga squad used similar tactics when they returned to Manchester in September 2008 for another group match.
United often felt frustrated by the resilient LaLiga side, which defended well
This time, Ferguson’s side managed to shoot 20 shots on target and six on target, but became frustrated again when Diego Lopez made several important saves for the away side.
United felt they should have been given a penalty when Ji-Sung Park was sent down by Joan Capdevila, but German referee Wolfgang Stark refused to point to the spot.
A young Jonny Evans nearly scored a late winner, but saw his head come back painfully off the post.
In the final match between the two teams, they both advanced in their Champions League group.
Former Red Devil Giuseppe Rossi started for Villarreal, while ex-Arsenal man Robert Pires also lined up against Ferguson’s side.
A low-key affair suddenly came to life in the last 10 minutes when Capdevila was sent off for a late tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo, much to the ire of the home fans.
But United were able to watch the game to ensure their progress to the knockouts.
Joan Capdevila was sent off for a late tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo in the last game in 2008
The men who played for both clubs
(Manchester United 2002-2004), (Villarreal 2004-2007)
He may not have lived up to the expectations set when he was signed for £ 6.9m, but Forlan is still fondly remembered at Old Trafford.
It took the striker 24 games to score his first goal, a penalty against Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League and eight more to get his first in open play.
Forlan then scored a total of 17 goals in 97 games, including two against Liverpool at Anfield. He also picked up a Premier League winner’s medal for the 2002-2003 season, as well as an FA Cup and Community Shield in the following campaign.
The Uruguayan’s career has been on the rise after leaving United in 2004. He scored 58 goals in 121 appearances for Villarreal before joining Atletico Madrid, scoring 96 goals in 198 games. He also won the Europa League and Super Cup in his four-year stint.
The attacker was then the top scorer at the 2010 World Cup and took the Golden Ball for best player.
Diego Forlan left United to join Villarreal in 2007 after scoring 17 goals for the Red Devils
(Manchester United 2004-2007), (Villarreal 2007-2013)
The Italian signed for United in 2005 at the age of 17, but only played 14 times for the first team during his three years with the club.
He was loaned out to Newcastle in 2006 and Parma in 2007 before being sold to Villarreal for approximately £ 6.5 million.
The forward scored 82 goals in 191 appearances for the LaLiga squad, but his efforts were not enough to see the club win a trophy before joining Fiorentina in 2013.
Giuseppe Rossi signed for United in 2004 at the age of 17, but joined Villarreal in 2007
(Villarreal 2005-2008), (Manchester United 2009-2019)
Antonio Valencia only played two games for Villarreal and was loaned out when the Spaniards faced the Red Devils between 2005 and 2008.
On his second loan, he joined Wigan, with whom he signed permanently in 2008, before United paid about £ 16 million for him in 2009.
The Ecuador international spent 10 years at Old Trafford, winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League.
The right back scored 25 goals in 339 games for the Red Devils.
Antonio Valencia only played twice for Villarreal, but won nine trophies at OId Trafford
(Villarreal 2015-2016), (Manchester United 2016-present)
Eric Bailly became Jose Mourinho’s first signing as United boss when he joined in 2016 for a fee of £ 30 million.
The defender had only spent 18 months at Villarreal after joining them from Espanyol, but clearly has fond memories of his time at the club.
‘It is special. The team has made me a better player, ‘he said on United’s official club website ahead of Wednesday’s final.
‘I played in this team. They beat Arsenal, we need to know that. They are a good team and I have played there before, but now my team is United. Now I come to fight for my team to win the final. ‘
Harry Maguire’s injury allowed the center back to start against his old club.
Eric Bailly played for Villarreal from 2015 to 2016 before being signed by Jose Mourinho
Emery v Solskjaer record
Emery and Solskjaer have encountered each other five times in their management careers.
Their first meeting came when Emery was in Seville, while Solskjaer was manager of Molde.
The two teams met in the last 32 of the Europa League in 2016, which Sevilla won by beating Liverpool in the final.
The Spaniards won the first leg 3-0, but Solskjaer’s Molde claimed a 1-0 victory in the return leg in Norway.
Emery and Solskjaer have already met five times, with both managers taking two wins and a draw
The pair then met for the first time in England in January 2019. Solskjaer guided United to a 3-1 victory in the FA Cup fourth round, but Emery retaliated when the Gunners beat United 2-0 in the Premier League- match during the match. Emirates two months later.
Their last meeting was a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in September 2019, after which Emery was fired by the Gunners later in November.
Unlike United and Villarreal’s previous games, the clashes between Solskjaer and Emery averaged 2.5 goals per game.
Hopefully that bodes well in the run-up to Wednesday’s final, as both sides want to finally break the deadlock.