Spanish football: Valencia CF
Do you feel amor for Spanish football? You’ll love our series from fútbol-mad Matthew Hirtes then. This week, he turns his attention to Valencia CF.
Valencia C.F….in 90 seconds
Los Che are the biggest football club in the autonomous community of Valencia and third most popular in the whole of Spain. Yet they’ve been waiting since 2009, for a variety of reasons, to move into the 75,000-capacity Nou Mestalla in the north west of Valencia. So they continue to play their home-games in the 55,000-seater original eastside Mestalla.
A legend for club and country, Argentina striker Mario Kempes and his distinctive touseled hair were a Mestalla fixture from the mid 70s to mid 80s. If his debut during Valencia CF’s traditional pre-season Trofeo Naranja tournament (he missed a penalty as his new side finished fourth with only four teams competing) was inauspicious, he proved the doommongers wrong by finishing as pichichi (top scorer) for the 1976-77 season with 24 goals in 34 games. He’d repeat the feat the following season and also win the World Cup on home soil, top-scoring in that competition too.
An industrious box-to-box midfielder who debuted in the early 90s, Gaizka Mendieta’s game become even more complete towards the end of the decade when he added goals to match his tallies of assists and tackles. An inspiring capitain, he’d lead the team to successive (albeit losing) UEFA Champions League appearances. Mendieta did manage though to lift the domestic Copa del Rey and Supercopa de España aloft.
The homegrown David Albelda inherited the Valencia CF skipper’s armband following Mendieta’s transfer to Serie A‘s S.S. Lazio in 2001. A more defensive midfielder, Albelda started out as a centre back. Since retiring, he’s become a colourful pundit; infamously turning the airwaves blue when he saw his beloved club knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla.
Valencia CF Form Guide
Since forming in 1919, Valencia CF have been slowly yet surely adding to their trophy cabinet. They won their first of six La Ligas in 1941-42 and last in 2003-2004. Valencia have also been the victorious side in seven Copa del Rey finals.
Club Shop Essential Purchase
To recreate that away-day experience, how about buying a replica Valencia CF Team Bus?
White tablecloths, black chairs, chequered floor, Carrer Micer Mascó’s Bar Mestalla‘s your stereotypical Spanish hostelry and a mere five-minutes’ walk from the stadium. If you want to extend your post-match entertainment, Carrer Polo y Peyrolon’s Santoory is a good place to hit to make a night out of it. As is Carrer de Bèlgica’s Carribean’s where they mix up some of the best cocktails in town.
You might well have heard of David Ferrer. One of Spain’s leading tennis players, he’s also one of Valencia CF’s most famous fans. Along with actor-turned-politician Toni Cantó, Spanish TV presenter/actress Carmen Alcayde, and comic/host Arturo Valls.
Damage to Your Wallet
You can buy Valencia tickets online through Entradas.com and at ticket offices in and around the Mestalla stadium typically priced between 25€ and 50€.
Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He's travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert.