USE CODE XMAS21 TO get 20% off past issues, season packs and subscriptions
Don't miss out
Greatest European Nights

My Greatest European Night

Valencia may not have lifted the trophy, but for fan Rafa Alcayna a fleeting shot at glory is better than no shot at all

Valencia 4-1 Barcelona

Semi-final first leg
1 May 2000

As novices in Europe, Héctor Cúper’s team had the ‘good fortune’ to get a Spanish team in the semi-final. Yes, it was Barcelona, but we knew them. It was the best thing that could have happened because at that time we were the best team in Spain. I told my wife Inma, “It won’t always be like this, what we’re living right now isn’t going to happen again. It’s impossible.”

Barcelona were terrified of Claudio ‘Piojo’ López; Carles Puyol was obsessed with marking him. He scored right at the end but it was Miguel Ángel Angulo – an all-action striker, a fighter – who did the damage, scoring the first two goals. When Gaizka Mendieta scored his penalty, won by Angulo, just before half-time, there was daylight at 3-1. 

Rafa Alcayna and his wife Inma

It was like you were hoping and suspecting something might happen and it gradually became real. There was this sense of euphoria. We were all looking at each other thinking, “This can’t be happening.” The team were swept along by the crowd. The old players talk about how the stands at Mestalla are right on top of the pitch and that has a real impact. 

It was the reverse in the final against Real Madrid; Valencia were overwhelmed by the occasion. The pressure was too much. It was something new and Real Madrid’s experience told. It didn’t happen a year later in the final against Bayern when we lost on penalties. 

I was in Milan for that game. We went by coach and the day after, driving back, was my saddest day as a Valencia fan. You saw it on the supporters’ faces: not again. The team was still improving, but as I’d told my wife, it wasn’t going to last forever – we were dreaming and the day would come for us to wake up again. But lots of teams would love a dream like the one we had.

Valencia 4-1 Barcelona

Semi-final first leg
1 May 2000

As novices in Europe, Héctor Cúper’s team had the ‘good fortune’ to get a Spanish team in the semi-final. Yes, it was Barcelona, but we knew them. It was the best thing that could have happened because at that time we were the best team in Spain. I told my wife Inma, “It won’t always be like this, what we’re living right now isn’t going to happen again. It’s impossible.”

Barcelona were terrified of Claudio ‘Piojo’ López; Carles Puyol was obsessed with marking him. He scored right at the end but it was Miguel Ángel Angulo – an all-action striker, a fighter – who did the damage, scoring the first two goals. When Gaizka Mendieta scored his penalty, won by Angulo, just before half-time, there was daylight at 3-1. 

Rafa Alcayna and his wife Inma

It was like you were hoping and suspecting something might happen and it gradually became real. There was this sense of euphoria. We were all looking at each other thinking, “This can’t be happening.” The team were swept along by the crowd. The old players talk about how the stands at Mestalla are right on top of the pitch and that has a real impact. 

It was the reverse in the final against Real Madrid; Valencia were overwhelmed by the occasion. The pressure was too much. It was something new and Real Madrid’s experience told. It didn’t happen a year later in the final against Bayern when we lost on penalties. 

I was in Milan for that game. We went by coach and the day after, driving back, was my saddest day as a Valencia fan. You saw it on the supporters’ faces: not again. The team was still improving, but as I’d told my wife, it wasn’t going to last forever – we were dreaming and the day would come for us to wake up again. But lots of teams would love a dream like the one we had.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Valencia 4-1 Barcelona

Semi-final first leg
1 May 2000

As novices in Europe, Héctor Cúper’s team had the ‘good fortune’ to get a Spanish team in the semi-final. Yes, it was Barcelona, but we knew them. It was the best thing that could have happened because at that time we were the best team in Spain. I told my wife Inma, “It won’t always be like this, what we’re living right now isn’t going to happen again. It’s impossible.”

Barcelona were terrified of Claudio ‘Piojo’ López; Carles Puyol was obsessed with marking him. He scored right at the end but it was Miguel Ángel Angulo – an all-action striker, a fighter – who did the damage, scoring the first two goals. When Gaizka Mendieta scored his penalty, won by Angulo, just before half-time, there was daylight at 3-1. 

Rafa Alcayna and his wife Inma

It was like you were hoping and suspecting something might happen and it gradually became real. There was this sense of euphoria. We were all looking at each other thinking, “This can’t be happening.” The team were swept along by the crowd. The old players talk about how the stands at Mestalla are right on top of the pitch and that has a real impact. 

It was the reverse in the final against Real Madrid; Valencia were overwhelmed by the occasion. The pressure was too much. It was something new and Real Madrid’s experience told. It didn’t happen a year later in the final against Bayern when we lost on penalties. 

I was in Milan for that game. We went by coach and the day after, driving back, was my saddest day as a Valencia fan. You saw it on the supporters’ faces: not again. The team was still improving, but as I’d told my wife, it wasn’t going to last forever – we were dreaming and the day would come for us to wake up again. But lots of teams would love a dream like the one we had.

My Greatest European Night
Greatest European Nights

My Greatest European Night

Valencia may not have lifted the trophy, but for fan Rafa Alcayna a fleeting shot at glory is better than no shot at all

Valencia 4-1 Barcelona

Semi-final first leg
1 May 2000

As novices in Europe, Héctor Cúper’s team had the ‘good fortune’ to get a Spanish team in the semi-final. Yes, it was Barcelona, but we knew them. It was the best thing that could have happened because at that time we were the best team in Spain. I told my wife Inma, “It won’t always be like this, what we’re living right now isn’t going to happen again. It’s impossible.”

Barcelona were terrified of Claudio ‘Piojo’ López; Carles Puyol was obsessed with marking him. He scored right at the end but it was Miguel Ángel Angulo – an all-action striker, a fighter – who did the damage, scoring the first two goals. When Gaizka Mendieta scored his penalty, won by Angulo, just before half-time, there was daylight at 3-1. 

Rafa Alcayna and his wife Inma

It was like you were hoping and suspecting something might happen and it gradually became real. There was this sense of euphoria. We were all looking at each other thinking, “This can’t be happening.” The team were swept along by the crowd. The old players talk about how the stands at Mestalla are right on top of the pitch and that has a real impact. 

It was the reverse in the final against Real Madrid; Valencia were overwhelmed by the occasion. The pressure was too much. It was something new and Real Madrid’s experience told. It didn’t happen a year later in the final against Bayern when we lost on penalties. 

I was in Milan for that game. We went by coach and the day after, driving back, was my saddest day as a Valencia fan. You saw it on the supporters’ faces: not again. The team was still improving, but as I’d told my wife, it wasn’t going to last forever – we were dreaming and the day would come for us to wake up again. But lots of teams would love a dream like the one we had.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Valencia 4-1 Barcelona

Semi-final first leg
1 May 2000

As novices in Europe, Héctor Cúper’s team had the ‘good fortune’ to get a Spanish team in the semi-final. Yes, it was Barcelona, but we knew them. It was the best thing that could have happened because at that time we were the best team in Spain. I told my wife Inma, “It won’t always be like this, what we’re living right now isn’t going to happen again. It’s impossible.”

Barcelona were terrified of Claudio ‘Piojo’ López; Carles Puyol was obsessed with marking him. He scored right at the end but it was Miguel Ángel Angulo – an all-action striker, a fighter – who did the damage, scoring the first two goals. When Gaizka Mendieta scored his penalty, won by Angulo, just before half-time, there was daylight at 3-1. 

Rafa Alcayna and his wife Inma

It was like you were hoping and suspecting something might happen and it gradually became real. There was this sense of euphoria. We were all looking at each other thinking, “This can’t be happening.” The team were swept along by the crowd. The old players talk about how the stands at Mestalla are right on top of the pitch and that has a real impact. 

It was the reverse in the final against Real Madrid; Valencia were overwhelmed by the occasion. The pressure was too much. It was something new and Real Madrid’s experience told. It didn’t happen a year later in the final against Bayern when we lost on penalties. 

I was in Milan for that game. We went by coach and the day after, driving back, was my saddest day as a Valencia fan. You saw it on the supporters’ faces: not again. The team was still improving, but as I’d told my wife, it wasn’t going to last forever – we were dreaming and the day would come for us to wake up again. But lots of teams would love a dream like the one we had.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Valencia 4-1 Barcelona

Semi-final first leg
1 May 2000

As novices in Europe, Héctor Cúper’s team had the ‘good fortune’ to get a Spanish team in the semi-final. Yes, it was Barcelona, but we knew them. It was the best thing that could have happened because at that time we were the best team in Spain. I told my wife Inma, “It won’t always be like this, what we’re living right now isn’t going to happen again. It’s impossible.”

Barcelona were terrified of Claudio ‘Piojo’ López; Carles Puyol was obsessed with marking him. He scored right at the end but it was Miguel Ángel Angulo – an all-action striker, a fighter – who did the damage, scoring the first two goals. When Gaizka Mendieta scored his penalty, won by Angulo, just before half-time, there was daylight at 3-1. 

Rafa Alcayna and his wife Inma

It was like you were hoping and suspecting something might happen and it gradually became real. There was this sense of euphoria. We were all looking at each other thinking, “This can’t be happening.” The team were swept along by the crowd. The old players talk about how the stands at Mestalla are right on top of the pitch and that has a real impact. 

It was the reverse in the final against Real Madrid; Valencia were overwhelmed by the occasion. The pressure was too much. It was something new and Real Madrid’s experience told. It didn’t happen a year later in the final against Bayern when we lost on penalties. 

I was in Milan for that game. We went by coach and the day after, driving back, was my saddest day as a Valencia fan. You saw it on the supporters’ faces: not again. The team was still improving, but as I’d told my wife, it wasn’t going to last forever – we were dreaming and the day would come for us to wake up again. But lots of teams would love a dream like the one we had.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

To access this article, as well as all CJ+ content and competitions, you will need a subscription to Champions Journal.
Already a subscriber? Sign in
close
Special Offers
christmas offer
Christmas CHEER
Up to 40% off
Start shopping
50% off
game night flash sale!!!
Don't miss out
00
Hours
:
00
minutes
:
00
Seconds
Valid on selected products only. subscriptions not included
close