Villarreal have lost four European semi-finals and are set to be in one more when they take on Arsenal in the first leg of the Europa League last four on Thursday night.


One of the semi-final losses came against Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League, when Riquelme himself missed a crucial penalty in the second leg as the Gunners marched on to the final.



The Argentinian is backing his former side to beat Arsenal and reach their first European final this season, where he hopes that they can lift the Europa League.


He was quoted as saying by Spanish daily AS: “I want to send a big kiss to the people at Villarreal.



“I hope they can reach the final and that they can win the trophy since I think they deserve it.”


The painful memories of that night 15 years persist, but Riquelme stressed that there is a vast difference in quality between that Arsenal and the ones Villarreal will face on Thursday night.



Therefore, he believes the Spanish side have a great chance of edging Arsenal out over two legs in the semi-finals.


“We believe that that we are going to have a chance of reaching the final since this Arsenal have very good players but they don’t have a Pires or a Henry.


“They don’t have those kinds of players, the ones they had when they play against us.”