When it comes to the Copa Del Rey, or King’s Cup, Valencia sure know how to rack up the trophies. The 5th most successful club in this 119-year-old competition has 8 cups and 17 final appearances so far.
As Los Che gear up for another silverware showdown, here are our top 5 cup moments.
#1 A Cup From Out Of Nowhere
No one saw this coming. Valencia were in the midst of a disastrous 2007/2008 season as they flirted with relegation in LaLiga. 2 managers had come and gone, and the 3rd – a wildly unpopular Ronald Koeman – was facing calls to be axed.
But in La Copa, the Bats soared, beating the likes of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Current Manchester United man Juan Mata was the hero in the semi-final against the Catalans, netting a brace that sent Ronaldinho and his team packing.
The team then clinched the cup with a dominant victory over Getafe in the final, giving Valencianistas some much-needed cheer.
#2 An Unwanted Hat-trick
It’s been more than 50 years, but it still stings. 3 consecutive Copa finals, 3 straight losses.
The first blow came in 1970, when Valencia fell 3-1 to Real Madrid. Barcelona then inflicted more pain the following year, after a last-gasp winner in the 113th-minute that broke Los Che’s hearts.
But there would be one final chance to be king. Third time lucky? Or so we thought. Atletico Madrid provided the misery this time, consigning us to a 3rd runners-up medal in a row. Ouch.
#3 Rodrigo To The Rescue
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Already trailing 1-0 to Getafe following a first leg quarter-final defeat in 2019, all hope seemed lost for Valencia when Jorge Molina put the Azulones 2-0 up on aggregate in the very first minute of the return leg.
Enter Rodrigo Moreno. In the 61st minute, the Spanish international gave Los Che a lifeline by halving the deficit. His best moments would come right at the death, as he completed a heroic hat-trick by scoring twice in 2 minutes during injury time. Getafe were out and we marched on. What a comeback for the ages.
#4 Breaking Barca’s Machine And Ending A Decade-long Drought
Buoyed by the victory over Getafe, Valencia made it all the way to the final once more. This was the golden opportunity to end a 11-year trophy drought. Our opponents: a Barcelona juggernaut seeking their 5th consecutive title. We faced overwhelming odds.
But where others doubted, we believed. Who needed Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho when we had Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo? The deadly duo made the difference as their goals bagged the cup for us. It was the perfect way to mark our centenary year.
#5 A Portuguese Powerhouse
It was a goal so good that we’re still watching it on repeat. After a hard-fought first leg semi-final encounter that ended in a draw, Valencia welcomed giant slayers Athletic Bilbao to the Mestalla. The visitors were the clear favourites, having already booted both Barcelona and Real Madrid out of the competition.
Something special was needed to break a stubborn Bilbao defence, so up stepped Goncalo Guedes. Picking up the ball from 30 yards, the Portuguese calmly took a touch before effortlessly rifling it into the top corner. We’re into the final!