El Centrocampista


Things were looking rather bleak for Valencia following their  3-0 Champions League defeat against Chelsea last week.

The €3 million guaranteed by UEFA for progression to the knockout stages would have been a great help to the club, never mind the huge amounts they could have received in TV revenue.

Before the game fans had been excited by the news that Ajax and Holland’s Gregory van der Wiel looked set to join the club for the 2012 season. Quotes from the player and his agent suggest a move is all but done, and a back line of Alba, Ruiz, Rami and van der Wiel looks like it could be one of the best out there.

But despite this positive news, in the wake of the Chelsea defeat fans were considering their season over, bar forays into to the very final stages of the Europa League or the Copa Del Rey, and the odd trip to the Bernabau or Nou Camp.

Nothing could match the excitement of the Champions League, and nothing could ease the pain of the complete capitulation at Stamford Bridge.

An own goal in the 66th minute from Real Betis’ Jose Antonio Dorado the following weekend put a slight smile back on Valencianista’s faces but another gutting defeat was suffered courtesy of two goals from Ruben Castro in the 92nd and 94th minutes.

It was certainly a low point and the feeling was that Valencia had peaked for this season, top of the league for a period followed by fantastic performances against Madrid and Barcelona, limited to another third place finish.

Then came the news every fan had been waiting far too long to hear.

On the 12 December club President Manuel Llorente announced that building work on the Nou Mestalla would resume: “This is a landmark agreement” said Llorente, and he couldn’t have been more right.

The one thing holding Valencia back from progression was finally gone, and the shackles were off, time for fans to rejoice.

The news broke as the team were in Cadiz prior to the first leg of their Copa del Rey game, which finished 0-0, underwhelming but a good enough score line to take in to the return game at the Mestalla.

The news had settled in time for Malaga’s trip to Valencia for both teams last league game of 2011 before the winter break.

Malaga, Spain’s new millionaires gunning for Champions League football visited, hoping to make a statement of intent, aiming to take Los Che’s place behind Madrid and Barcelona.

Unfortunately for them, Valencia were also looking to make a statement.

Two magnificent finishes from Roberto Soldado, the highest scoring Spaniard this season won the game for Valencia with no reply from Malaga.

“We’re back” was the message emanating from the game.

Euphoria greeted the final whistle at the Mestalla, as finally, Valencia fans can dream of a brighter future.

A week that started off so bad, didn’t end that bad at all.

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