|Rafael Benítez Maudes
|Cañizares, Palop, Jonathan
|Angloma, Ayala, Carboni, Curro Torres, Djukic, Fabio Aurelio, Garrido, Marchena, Navarro, Pellegrino
|Aimar, Albelda, Angulo, Baraja, De los Santos, Jandro, Kily González, Rufete, Serban, Vicente
|Carew, Ilie, Juan Sánchez, Mista, Salva
The tragical season lived by Valencia CF the previous season,
together with Mendieta's transfer, and the president's dismissal, made the supporters look at
the future with hesitation. The summer of 2001 was very controversial. There were many rumours, with the possible
transfer of Kily González, and the possible hiring of
Marcelo Salas. But nothing of this happened.
Valencia CF surprised everybody hiring a young coach, with not much experience, but with
a promising future. After negotiating with many trainers,
Valencia hired Rafa Benítez, a coach that had achieved the promotion with
CD Tenerife the previous season. In the presentation of the team in August, Rafa Benítez promised the
supporters a championship, and he did it.
Benítez took Miguel Angel Mista and Curro Torres with him, two players yielded by Valencia CF to
Tenerife. Another important hiring was Francisco Rufete, who gave an excellent result.
Other players hired were Salva (from Atletico Madrid), De Los Santos (from Malaga) and Marchena
(from Benfica). Besides Mendieta, the players that left the team were Deschamps (Monaco), Zahovic
(Benfica), Soria (Córdoba), Diego Alonso (yielded to Atlético Madrid) and Luis Milla,
who left the practice of football.
Valencia CF started the season without Mendieta, but soon found the new idol, Pablo
Aimar, who showed his great class with his goals and assistances.
With him, in the midfield, Rubén Baraja became the reference of the valencian play.
Two great players who were the symbol of Valencia CF champion.
The league was one of the most fue una de las más exciting and intense lived by the valencian supporters. After
a long season full of suffering, Valencia CF was proclaimed champion of the spanish league for the
fifth time in its history, 31 years after the last time. On May 5th, 2002, in a sold-out
Rosaleda Stadium at Málaga, with more than 3.000 valencian supporters,
Valencia CF achieved the victory and won the League. The city of Valencia
was invaded by joy. The team arrived from Malaga on the
following day and was received by an impressive number of supporters aficionados, despite the hard
rain that was falling. The team crossed the city in a convertible bus, cheered
by thousands of supporters in the street, until they reached Mestalla Stadiu, where the final party
took place. It was an unforgettable day for the valencian supporters.
In the last league match, Valencia CF lived a magical night at Mestalla. The team won the match,
Angloma said good-bye and was tributed by the supporters, Palop stopped a penalty and,
the most important, the champion received the Cup.
But not everything was happiness. In the King's Cup Valencia CF was eliminated in a controversial decision
of the Spanish Federation, although the team had won the match versus Novelda. The coach of
Valencia CF, Rafa Benítez, lined up four foreign players and Novelda denounced it. The team delegate, Juan Cruz Sol,
resigned, and Benítez lived his most difficult moments as coach of Valencia CF.
In the UEFA Cup, Valencia CF made a good performance. Mestalla's team reached the
quarter-finals, and was defeatd by Inter Milan, coached by the ex-Valencia CF trainer Héctor Cúper.
Valencia was eliminated, but this let them concentrate on the league to win the title.
Four players of Valencia CF joined the spanish national team to play the World Cup at Japan and Korea:
Cañizares, Curro Torres, Albelda and Baraja. Ayala, Aimar and Kily played the championship with the
Argentina and De Los Santos with Uruguay.
The league season could not start better,
because Valencia defeated Real Madrid at Mestalla in the first match bringing the
hope to the supporters. Real Madrid arrived with all their stars, and with the pressure of the
national media, but Valencia won eith authority. Nevertheless, the league would not be an
easy road. Despitee the first valencian victory, the style of the team was not convincent.
Valencia was a defensively unbeatable block, and remained 13 weeks unbeaten, until the match
at Anoeta where Valencia lost versus Real Sociedad, but from these 13 matches, 8 ended in a tie.
Then came the defeat versus Deportivo, that left Valencia CF out of the
Champions League positions. Valencia's, Rafa Benítez, was i a hard situation, and there were rumours
that he could be fired if Valencia lost the next match. But then,
the flexion point of Valencia CF arrived. On December 15th, 2001, in the Olympic Stadium
of Montjuïc (Barcelona), Valencia achieved an heroical overcome. The che team reached the halftime
losing 2-0 versus Espanyol, everything seemed to be over and the coach was more out than in. But
Valencia return to the field and made a spectacular second half. With goals scored by Rufete and
Adrian Ilie, Valencia won the match 2-3, and set the starting point to an unforgettable
end of season. The team had changed, and wanted to make clear that they wanted to fight for the league.
From here to the end, the league was a hard fight with Real Madrid. Real counted with the support
of the national mass media, but Valencia had a more powerful weapon,
the illusion and de support of an untiring fans that took their team to
the victoty. In the 30th week, Valencia visited Rayo Vallecano's stadium as leader, but in a bad
match Valencia was defeated, and lost also the leadership. But Valencia did not give up,
instead of that, the team made an impressive take off. In a spectacular end of league,
from the 8 last matches Valencia won 7 and tied one. In the 34th week, on April 14th, Valencia
had the same points as Real Madrid (but was second due to the goal average),
tied at Son Moix versus RCD Mallorca. Curiously, this draw gave the leadership to Valencia,
because on the following day Real Madrid was beaten by Osasuna at Pamplona.
Valencia had become leader.
Mestalla exploded full of joy when at 23.21 of the Saturday, April 27th, 2002, the referee
Medina Cantalejo whistled the end of the match that Valencia CF had played versus
Espanyol and meant another victory, three points more. Menwhile, at Anoeta, Real
Sociedad had beaten Real Madrid. The victory versus Espanyol can be taken as the victory of the heart,
the fight and the faith of the players and of the
53.500 spectators that filled Mestalla and that never gave up suppporting their team.
Valencia overcame a goal by Espanyol, with only ten players, and with a sensational match
by Rubén Baraja. Once again versus Espanyol, Valencia completed a heroical match.
The championship was very close, only 3 points were missing to become champions.
The date of May 5th, 2002, will always remain in the memory of the history of Valencia CF. The team
visited a full La Rosaleda Stadium, versus Málaga, with more than
3.000 valencian supporters. The match was decisive. Two goals, scored by
Ayala and Fabio Aurelio, opened the door of the history for Valencia: 31 years later, the league
was won. The team of Rafa Benítez was faithful to its style, to that discipline, that order and that work
that took to this success, to this fifth league championship. Valencia CF had won the league
one week before the end.
city of Valencia exploded in a neverendig celebration. On the following day, despite the hard rain
that was falling, the team was welcomed by thousands of supporters
who celebrated the victory. The party took the players through all the city in a convertible bus,
The celebrations ended in the Stadium of Mestalla, where the team celebrated the victory with
In the last match, the captain Cañizares received the cup. Valencia CF
achieved its fifth league and recovered his place between the biggest teams. Nothing could
stop the valencian spirit.
Without a clear scorer in the team, many players contributedto the final victory.
The scorers of Valencia CF this season were: Rubén Baraja (7 goals), Salva
, Mista and Rufete (5 goals), Aimar, Angulo and Sánchez (4 goals), Kily González (3 goals),
Albelda, Ayala, Ilie and Vicente (2 goals), Carew, De Los Santos, Fabio Aurelio, Marchena, Pelegrino (1 goal).
These were the results and the final classification:
|1||Valencia 1 - R. Madrid 0|
|2||Valladolid 1 - Valencia 1|
|3||Valencia 1 - Las Palmas 0|
|4||Ath. Bilbao 2 - Valencia 2|
|5||Valencia 0 - Alavés 0|
|6||Celta 1 - Valencia 1|
|7||Valencia 1 - Villareal 0|
|8||Barcelona 2 - Valencia 2|
|9||Valencia 2 - Zaragoza 0|
|10||Sevilla 1 - Valencia 1|
|11||Valencia 2 - Rayo 1|
|12||Osasuna 0 - Valencia 0|
|13||Valencia 0 - Tenerife 0|
|14||R. Sociedad 2 - Valencia 0|
|15||Valencia 1 - Mallorca 1|
|16||Deportivo 1 - Valencia 0|
|17||Espanyol 2 - Valencia 3|
|18||Valencia 2 - Málaga 1|
|19||Betis 1 - Valencia 3||
|20||R. Madrid 1 - Valencia 0|
|21||Valencia 1 - Valladolid 2|
|22||Las Palmas 0 - Valencia 1|
|23||Valencia 2 - Ath. Bilbao 1|
|24||Alavés 1 - Valencia 2|
|25||Valencia 0 - Celta 0|
|26||Villareal 1 - Valencia 1|
|27||Valencia 2 - Barcelona 0|
|28||Zaragoza 0 - Valencia 1|
|29||Valencia 2 - Sevilla 0|
|30||Rayo 2 - Valencia 1|
|31||Valencia 2 - Osasuna 1|
|32||Tenerife 0 - Valencia 1|
|33||Valencia 4 - R. Sociedad 0|
|34||Mallorca 1 - Valencia 1|
|35||Valencia 1 - Deportivo 0|
|36||Valencia 2 - Espanyol 1|
|37||Málaga 0 - Valencia 2|
|38||Valencia 2 - Betis 0||
the participation of Valencia CF in the King's Cup was a complete failure. The team started its way on the competition
with many hopes. But everything ended in the very first round.
On October 10th, 2001, Valencia CF had to play the first round, in a single match, versus
Novelda CF, a team from the 3rd group of the Second Division B. But the attitude of the valencian team
was not the most adequate for this kind of matches, in which a simple mistake leaves you out.
Valencia made a weak match, but in the end achieved the victory with a goal by Rufete in the
46th minute of the match. Valencia CF had qualified, but something happened and would change evrything.
Valencia CF finished the match with four foreign players in the team: Djukic, Serban, Ayala and Aimar.
The Spanish Federation decided to eliminate Valencia CF.
The club went though a humilliating situation, and the team's delegate, Juan Cruz Sol, resigned.
These were the hardest moments of Benitez as coach of Valencia CF.
The UEFA Cup
didn't wake many expectations in the valencian supporters. The two great seasons performed by the
team in the Champions League, and the low quality of the teams competing in the UEFA Cup,
left this competition in the background. Nevertheless, the good trajectory of the team in the competition,
that took our Valencia to the quarter-finals, made this competition more important month after month.
In the first round Valencia CF had to play versus an unknown Chernomorets Novorossiysk,
from Russia. In the first leg match, played on September 19th, 2001, at the Trud Stadium, Valencia
played enough in a low quality match to win with a goal by Mista. In the second leg match,
played on September 27th, 2001, at Mestalla, Valencia defeated Chernomorets 5-0 and qualified for the
Legia Warszawa, from Poland, was Valencia's rival in the
second round. The first leg match, played at Wojska Polskiego Stadium on October 18th,
was a battle. The polish players played very hard and Vicente and De Los Santos
were injured. The match finished in a tie 1-1. In the second leg match at Mestalla
played on November 1st, 2001, Valencia won 6-1.
In the third round Valencia CF had to face a strong rival,
Celtic Glasgow. Everybody knew it was not gonna be easy, but it turned into a nightmare.
In the first leg match played at Mestalla, on November 22nd, Valencia achieved the victory
in the 75th minute, with a goal by Vicente. A low aggregate for the team to face the second leg
in a sold-out Celtic Park, on December 6th, 2001.
Celtic scored and tied the heat. In the extra-time nothing happened, and so a penalty shoot-out had
to be played. Many sad memories came to the mind of the valencian supporters,
who couldn't forget the penalty shoot-out of last season in the Champions League final match.
But this time, Valencia CF was luckier. Cañizares stopped the last penalty shot by
Valgaeren, and Mista scored.
In the 1/8 of final Valencia played versys Servette FC from Switzerland. The team won
3-0 at Mestalla, on February 19th, 2002. The second leg was played at Les Charmilles Stadium, in
Geneve, on February 28th. The match finished 2-2.
Valencia CF had qualified for the quarter-finals and the rival was Inter de Milán,
a great team coached by Hector Cuper, and with Farinos in the team.
On March 14th, 2002, Valencia CF returned to San Siro, where they lost the Champions League last season,
to play the first leg. The valencian team played wonderfully, but achieved just a 1-1 versus an
The second leg match was a nightmare. Inter arrived at Mestalla and Ventola scored an early goal in the
2nd minute. Then, Inter disappeared and just defended the result.
Valencia attacked and attacked, made a fabulous match, one of the bests of the season, and had
many opportunities to score. But the bad luck, the errors of the forwards and the rival
goalkeeper avoided Valencia's goal. The match finished 0-1 and Valencia CF was knocked out of the UEFA Cup.
Compiled and written by Manuel Lazcano - Design by Luis Martinez - Based on an original idea by Chema Santiago
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© 2004 Penya Valencianista CiberChe