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Unai Emery returns to Spain to coach Villarreal

VILLARREAL, Spain (AP) — Unai Emery is heading home to Spain to take over as coach of Villarreal, returning to the country where he won three straight Europa League titles before frustrating stints at Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal.

Villarreal said Thursday that the 48-year-old Emery has agreed to a three-year contract. Emery will inherit a team with a talented group of attacking players led by strikers Paco Alcácer and Gerard Moreno. Veteran playmaker Santi Cazorla, who also played for Arsenal, will not return to the team and instead will play for Xavi Hernández at Qatari club Al-Saad.

Emery last coached at Arsenal, where he replaced Arsene Wenger, but he was fired in November after 18 months as manager. He previously won the French league title with Paris Saint-Germain but failed to win the Champions League trophy that the club craves.

Emery’s biggest successes have come with Spanish clubs. He won three straight Europa League titles with Sevilla from 2014-16 and had a strong five-year stint at Valencia, qualifying for the Champions League.

At Villarreal, Emery will replace Javier Calleja, who led to the team to a fifth-place finish and a spot in the Europa League.

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