The Fallen Giants of Valencia

Valencia left staring into the abyss as Sevilla prevail in battle of fallen giants.

valencia vs seville fallen giants

Twenty years ago, Valencia CF had just competed in two Champions League finals in a row. They lost the first convincingly to Real Madrid and the second to Bayern Munich, this time on penalties. A couple of years later, under Rafael Benitez, they beat Marseille in the 2004 UEFA Cup Final and won two league championships during the same period. Along with Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia challenged the traditional Barcelona-Madrid duopoly in the top Spanish league. Now, that’s a distant dream.

Relegation Looming

This season has been an unmitigated disaster as the club has slept-walked its way into a relegation battle. They are now among the favorites to go down. Outright markets, for those sports betting in Zambia, have Valencia at +175 to be relegated. Incredibly, only Espanyol and UD Almeria are priced at lower odds. Markets are also offered on match and goalscoring odds for Valencia matches, as well as casino and jackpot games. With only a few weeks left, the club is fighting for its future in the league.

The Weight of History

For anyone who has visited the world-famous Mestalla, the club’s stadium, it is easy to tell how heavily history weighs on the current squad. Images of legends of years gone by adorn the outside of the stadium walls. Mario Kempes, Gaizka Mendieta, and Ruben Baraja look down as fans come into the stadium, players they can only dream of attracting and keeping these days.

Under the reign of Peter Lim, the Hong Kong businessman, Valencia’s squad has been decimated year after year. Along with super-agent, Jorge Mendes, the two have seemingly hitched a plan to make as much money from the club, through selling players, rather than achievements on the pitch. Dani Parejo and Carlos Soller are players who have been sold in recent years without being adequately replaced.

The Current Squad

This brings us to the current crop. Edinson Cavani is the biggest name and was purchased in the summer. In the twilight of his career, he hasn’t had the desired impact. His all-action style has slowed considerably in the last few seasons after two years mostly spent on the bench for a Manchester United team that was barely challenging for the Europa League.

Justin Kluivert has been afforded more of an opportunity in the past few months and has impressed by chipping in with a few goals. Captain Gaya, the left back, has put his best foot forward this year and will most likely leave if the worst does pass. Luis Enrique called up Guillamón in the middle of midfield to the national team in the past few months and is also probably earmarked by the chairman as someone to move on at the end of the season.

For many in Spain, Valencia’s relegation will be a sad day for domestic football. Previously, they carried the fight to Barcelona and their city rivals, now their rivals include Espanyol and Cadiz, much smaller clubs. It may still be that they survive another season but many feel that it could be a stay of execution. Unless things change in the club’s boardroom, the days of Valencia struggling in the lower reaches of La Liga are going to continue.

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