The truth about Valencia CF
Between its two Europa League matches with Naples, Barça also has a big game in La Liga. Sunday at 4:15 p.m. CET they travel to Valencia. Here’s our lowdown on the club they call it Los Che.
Where do they come from?
Valence is the third largest city in Spain, the fifth largest port in the Mediterranean and the capital of the region of the same name, where many people speak Valencian, a sister language to Catalan. Its huge historic center is full of buildings to admire, and it’s also the birthplace of Spain’s most famous dish, Paellaand spectacular falls party in March.
The club was founded in 1919, but was not among the original members of the league in 1928. Valencia started in the second division, but were promoted three years later and stayed there for a season apart, 1986/87, when they fell to second.
Valencia are the third most supported football club in Spain, but they have generally played a supporting role for Barca and real Madrid in La Liga. However, they have won the title six times, most recently in 2004, and in 2019 beat Barca to claim an eighth King’s Cup trophy.
They have also won every major continental trophy except the Champions Leaguein which they were beaten runners-up twice in a row in 2000 and 2001.
The capacity of 55,000 Mestalla takes its name from a canal that ran along the land. For several years, he was better known as Luis Casanova after one of the club’s most esteemed presidents, but in 1994 the man himself requested that he revert to his old name.
Built in 1923, it is the oldest of the twenty La Liga grounds, but its days are numbered. Work on a new stadium began in 2007, but the process was halted by financial difficulties and it is still unclear when the site will be completed.
Thirteenth place in La Liga 2020/21 was very poor by Valencia’s usual standards, but 2021/22 isn’t much better.
There were four very clear phases. They got off to a good start, but then went seven games without a single win. There was a marked improvement in November and December, but then things took another remarkable turn for the worse. They haven’t won since Christmas and are down to 12and place after losing to Alavés last week, their lowest position of the season.
On the other hand, they march to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, even if the only first division team they had to beat on the way was Cadiz. They drew 1-1 at Bilbao in the first leg and host the second leg on March 2.
LAST FIVE MATCHES
February 13 (LIGA): Alaves 2-1 Valencia
February 10 (COPA): Athletic Club 1-1 Athletic Club
February 6 (LIGA): Valencia 0-0 Real Sociedad
February 2 (COPA): Valence 2-1 Cadiz
January 22 (LIGA): Atlético Madrid 3-2 Valencia
Valencia have won just three of their last 29 league meetings with Barca, and their 2-0 win in 2020 was their first at home against the Catalans since 2007. The other two wins were both at Camp Nou, 3- 2 in 2014 and 2 -1 in 2016.
Their recent form against Barca has actually been quite solid, with just three defeats in their last eight encounters, including a win in 2019. King’s Cup Final.
Valencia scored first in that game last season, but Barca ended up winning 3-2, and they also took the lead after just five minutes at Camp Nou earlier this season, but ended up losing the one. -there too.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
09/17/21 (LIGA) Barca 3 (Ansu Fati, Memphis, Coutinho) Valencia 1
05/02/21 (LIGA) Valencia 2 Barca 3 (Messi 2, Griezmann)
19/12/2020 (LIGA) Barca 2 (Messi, Araujo) Valencia 2
25/1/20 (LIGA) Valence 2 Barca 0
09/14/19 (LIGA) Barca 5 (Fati, De Jong, Pique, Suárez 2) Valencia 2
Jasper Cillessen (Holland, 60); Denis Cheryshev (Russia, 33); Gonçalo Guedes (Portugal, 28); Maxi Gómez (Uruguay, 22); José Gayà (Spain, 16); Yunus Musah (USA, 8), Omar Alderete (Paraguay, 8), Eray Cömert (Switzerland, 7)
Connections to Barca
Dutch international goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was at Barça for three seasons, mainly as second choice behind Ter Stegenand leaves for Valencia in the summer of 2019.
Ilaix Moriba (above) was a Barca B player who made 14 appearances for the first team last season under Ronald Koeman, becoming the club’s fifth-youngest goalscorer of all time when he scored against Osasuna. The Guinean was a soloist at RB Leipzig at the start of this season but since last month has returned to La Liga on loan at Valencia.
Winger Alex Blanco was part of Barca’s youth roster for two years from 2014-2016 before returning to Valencia.
Top scorers 2021/22
Gonçalo Guedes (9), Carlos Soler (7), Hugo Duro (6)
Jose Bordalas spent most of his life playing and managing clubs in the Alicante region, but gained his reputation among coaching circles when he guided Alavés and Getafe to promotion to La Liga, almost qualifying this last for the Champions League. In the summer of 2021, he accepts the job vacant at Valencia since the dismissal of Javi Gracia following the 3-2 loss to Barca.