When people think of powers in La Liga, they tend to think of the big two from El Clasico, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and in recent times Real’s annoying kid brother Atletico. However, this season, a sleeping giant awoke in La Liga as the Bats of Valencia finished three points behind Los Blancos and qualified for the UEFA Champions League (also known as the Zidane Invitational- that’s right, you win the tournament three times in a row I’m naming after you.)
As these are still early days, we have no idea who will or won’t play in this Everton game at Goodison, on August 4th with the Premier League season starting six days later. But let’s take a moment to appreciate the opponent. Valencia has spent 81 of the 85 possible seasons in Spain’s top flight, winning the title six times. Los Che have won the Copa del Rey - the King’s Cup - in Spain seven times. They’ve been the runner up in the Champions League twice and have won the UEFA Cup Winners Cup.
Valencia’s stadium iis the historic Mestalla, though they’ve had a new stadium in the works for a decade. It’s been a dark time in Valencia as they haven’t won a title since 2008.
Highlights of their roster include Rodrigo and a rejuvenated Simone Zaza as the top goalscorers, with Santi Mina having one of the very best conversion rates in all of Europe (43 shots, 12 goals). Dani Parejo is their best midfielder, with other notables being Geoffrey Kondogbia and Carlos Soler.
They are a very talented side, like I said, we have no idea how much of that talent will be available in August but it will be very exciting to have such a large club coming to town.