By James Agberebi:
After joining Mexican side Tigres, Super Eagles striker Ike Uche has finally penned lengthy, heartfelt arewell to Villarreal.
Uche who had spells with Real Zaragoza, Granada, Recreativo Huelva and Getafe before joining the Yellow Submarines, took to Villarreal's official website to express his gratitude to the club officials, fans and team-mates.
"Thanks. I could not start this farewell letter without thanking all those who, in one way or another, have helped all these years that my stay at Vilarreal was perfect. I want to start with the fans who have given me their affection at all times, both in good times – which have been many – and bad. These three seasons El Madrigal has been my home and in it I felt comfortable at all times, supported by a hobby that took on wings and led us to the First Division.
The fans have been with us, encouraged and supported us to achieve great success in Spain and Europe. You are very great! I have felt your love and closeness," he wrote.
"I want to thank the board, most especially President Fernando Roig, for his close relationship, friendship, and necessary support that has given us stability and an excellent working environment. I also want to thank all those who work within the big family called Villarreal CF, from the first to the last workers. I do not want to forget anyone, you all know how much I appreciate and how important you were to give me the day at the club. We also acknowledge the support of the sponsors and companies involved in this project, without you it would not be possible.
"Also the coaching staff at the head Marcelino Ruben, Ismael, Paul, the physios, doctors, representatives …
everyone! You have made me a better player and, above all, a better person. Much of the secret and success of Yellow Submarine is that tireless daily work, is that effort and sacrifice of all to achieve the goals we set. From you I learned a lot, really thanks !!!"
Uche also thanks the Spanish press, adding: "Also I want to thank the media and their exquisite treatment during my stay in Vilarreal, professionalism and constructive criticism about our game. You have told with words and letters the great triumphs of this great Villarreal CF. I hope that you continue doing the same for long.
"No, I have not forgotten you, my colleagues … thanks to all who have been part of the first team during these seasons. Especially the group last season. Great players and very great people, more than a team, a family. Travel, rallies, training, time on the train, bus or plane have been easier thanks to you. I will miss your jokes, smiles and hugs.
"I'm leaving Villarreal but part of me stays in El Madrigal, who will always be my home."