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Valencia Club de Fútbol (also known as Valencia CF or Valencia) are a Spanish professional football club based in Valencia, Spain and are one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football. They play in La Liga and are considered to be the third giant in Spanish football after Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Valencia has won six La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey trophies, three UEFA Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and two UEFA Super Cups. They have also been UEFA Champions League final runners-up on two different occasions in 2000 and 2001 losing to La Liga rivals Real Madrid in 2000 and Germany's Bayern Munich in 2001. Valencia are also members of the G-14 group of leading European football clubs.
Valencia was founded on March 5, 1919, and have played their home games at the Estadio Mestalla since 1923. With 53,000 seats, Mestalla is the fifth largest stadium in Spain.
The club was established in March 5, 1919 and officially approved in March 18, 1919, with Octavio Augusto Milego Díaz as its first president; incidentally the presidency was decided by a coin toss. The club played its first competitive match away from home on 21 May 1919 against Valencia Gimnástico, and lost the match 1-0.
Valencia CF moved into the Mestalla stadium in 1923, having played its home matches at the Algirós ground since 7 December 1919. The first match at Mestalla pitted the home side against Castellón Castalia and ended a 0-0 draw. In another match the day after, Valencia won against the same opposition 1-0. Valencia CF won the Regional Championship in 1923, and was eligible to play in the domestic Copa del Rey cup competition for the first time in its history.
The Spanish Civil War halted the progress of the Valencia team until 1941, when it won the Copa del Rey, beating RCD Espanyol in the final. In the 1941-42 season, the club won its first Spanish La Liga championship title, although winning the Copa del Rey was more reputable than the championship at that time. The club maintained its consistency to capture the league title again in the 1943-44 season, as well as the 1946-47 league edition.
In the 1950s, the club failed to emulate the success of the 1940s, even though it grew as a club. A restructuring of Mestalla resulted in an increase in spectator capacity to 45,000, while the club had a number of Spanish and foreign stars. Players such as Spanish international Antonio Puchades and Dutch forward Faas Wilkes graced the pitch at Mestalla. In the 1952-53 season, the club finished as runners-up in the La Liga, and in the following season, the club won the Copa del Rey, then known as the Copa del Generalísimo.
While managing indifferent league form in the early 1960s, the club had its first European success in the form of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the forerunner to the UEFA Cup). In the 1961-62 season, Valencia beat Spanish club FC Barcelona in the final. The 1962-63 edition of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final, pitted Valencia CF against Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb, which the Valencians also won. Valencia CF was again present in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup final in the 1963-64 season, but was defeated 2-1 by Real Zaragoza from Spain.
Former two-time European Footballer of the Year award winner Alfredo Di Stéfano was hired as coach in 1970, and immediately inspired his new club to their fourth La Liga championship. This secured Valencia its first qualification for the European Cup, contested by the various European domestic champions. Valencia reached the third round of the 1971-72 competition, before losing to Hungarian champions Újpest TE. The most notable players of the 1970s era include Austrian midfielder Kurt Jara, forward Johnny Rep of the Netherlands and Argentinian forward Mario Kempes, who became the La Liga topscorer for two consecutive seasons in the 1976-77 and 1977-78 season. Valencia would go on to win the Copa del Rey again in the 1978-79 season, and also capture the European Cup Winners' Cup the next season, after beating English club Arsenal FC in the final, with Kempes spearheading Valencia's success in Europe.
Relegation and promotion
In 1982, the club appointed Miljan Miljanic as coach. After a disappointing season, Valencia was in the 17th place and faced relegation with seven games left to play. Koldo Aguirre replaced Miljanic as coach, and Valencia barely avoided relegation that year, relying on favorable results from other teams to ensure their own survival. In the 1983-84 and 1984-85 season, the club was heavily in debt under the presidency of Vicente Tormo. The club finally hit rock bottom when it was relegated at near the end of the 1985-86 season, and riven with internal problems such as unpaid player and staff wages, as well as poor team spirit. The club was relegated for the first time after 55 years in Spanish top-flight football.
Arturo Tuzón was named as new president of the club, and he helped steer Valencia CF back to La Liga. Alfredo Di Stéfano returned as coach in 1986, and Valencia won promotion again following the 1986-87 season. Di Stéfano stayed on as coach until the 1987-88 season, which the team finished in 14th position in La Liga. Bulgarian forward Luboslav Penev joined the club in 1989, as Valencia aimed to consolidate their place in La Liga. Guus Hiddink was appointed as head coach in the 1991-92 season, and the club finished fourth in the League and reached the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey. In 1992, Valencia CF officially became a Sporting Limited Company, and retained Hiddink as their coach until 1993.
Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, fresh from winning the 1994 FIFA World Cup with the Brazilian national team, became manager at Mestalla in 1994. Parreira immediately signed the Spanish goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta and the Russian forward Oleg Salenko, as well as Predrag Mijatovic, but failed to produce results expected of him. He was replaced by new coach José Manuel Rielo. The club's earlier successes continued to elude it, although it was not short of top coaching staff like Luis Aragonés and Jorge Valdano, as well as foreign star forwards like Brazilian Romário, and Claudio López and Ariel Ortega from Argentina.
It was Italian coach Claudio Ranieri who broke the 19-year trophy draught, when he led Valencia to victory in the 1999 Copa del Rey. Héctor Cúper replaced Ranieri after the trophy win, and immediately led Valencia to its first UEFA Champions League final participation in the 1999-00 season, although they lost 3-0 in Paris to Spanish rivals Real Madrid CF. The team subsequently reached another Champions League final in the next season, this time losing to Bayern Munich on penalty shootout.
Héctor Cúper left the club in 2001, and Rafa Benítez was appointed new head coach. Benítez lead the club to its first La Liga title in 31 years, when Valencia were crowned Spanish champions in the 2001-02 season. Valencia won its second La Liga championship in three years, when Benítez guided the club to a double success in the 2003-04 season, winning both the La Liga title and the UEFA Cup before leaving for Liverpool F.C..
They suffered a disappointing 7th place result in the 04/05 season which qualified them for the Intertoto Cup, though they finished as runners-up in that competition.
Valencia improved in 2005-06, finishing third in La Liga, which qualified them for the 2006-07 Champions League. In Europe, Valencia entered the knockout round, where they went through on away goals, as they held Serie A leaders Inter Milan to a 0-0 draw at the Mestalla, having earlier drew at the San Siro 2-2. At the end of the game, a bench-clearing brawl broke out between Valencia and Inter players. In the quarter-finals they met English club Chelsea FC. The first leg was held at Stamford Bridge and the game ended 1-1 with David Silva putting Valencia 1-0 up, but Didier Drogba later scored for Chelsea to make it 1-1. The 2nd leg was played at the Mestalla with the game ending 1-2 to Chelsea (2-3 on aggregate). Fernando Morientes put Valencia 1-0 up before goals from Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Essien ended their run. Valencia was the only La Liga team to make the quarterfinals, with Real Madrid and Barcelona being eliminated in the round of sixteen.
Valencia played its first years at the Algirós stadium, but moved to the Estadio Mestalla in 1923. In the 1950s, Mestalla was restructured, which resulted in a capacity increase to 45,000 spectators. Today it holds 53,000 seats. However Valencia is scheduled to move to a new stadium in the north-west of the city Valencia in 2009. The Nou Mestalla, as it will be called, should hold around 75 000 spectators and will be given 5 star status by FIFA (as its design is specifically built to attain that ranking).
source: wikipedia.org GNU Free Documentation License