VALENCIA FOOTBALL: Valencia start training for the new season

Sixteen of the Valencia first team squad returned to training at Ciudad Deportiva de Paterna on July 3rd to start getting themselves ready for another assault on La Liga. Jaume, Montoya, Garay, Abdennour, Santos, Vezo, Robert Ibanez, Parejo, Bakkali, Medrano, Rodrigo, Orellana, Nando, Santi Mina, Zaza and Negredo will go through a plethora of physical, medical and nutritional studies over three or four days before leaving for the clubs training camp at Evian Les Bains on the 7th of July.

Many fans will also know that Valencia Mestalla just missed out on promotion to La Liga 1/2/3 at the final hurdle. However, the performances of these youngsters have not gone unnoticed and consequently five to seven of the Mestalla B squad will be rewarded and join the first team players on the tour of the French and Swiss Alps.

It seems at last the management at the club are looking to aggressively promote youth and hopefully several of these young stars will have the same kind of impact that Carlos Soler has had on the first team in the near future.

One of them is likely to be ‘Toni’ Lato who has just signed an improved and extended contract until 2021 with a reported 80 million Euro buy-out clause. This young international from La Pobla de Vallbona follows in the footsteps of Soler, who signed a similar contract earlier this year. It is highly likely several more of the Mestalla squad will be offered comparative deals in the near future.

Diego Alves and Cancelo, who have had recent commitments with Brazil and Portugal respectively, have been given official time off and do not have to report back until the 17th of July. Vinicius Araujo, who was on loan at SD Huesca, has also been given extended leave to the same date because he was involved in the Aragonese club’s play-off game with the eventual winners, Getafe.
As a result all three are to miss the friendly matches between Lausanne, Sporting Lisbon and the newly arranged game between Los Che and Estrella Deportiva du Sahel in Tunisia.

Other notable absentees of the initial phase of the tour are Jose Luis Gaya and Carlos Soler, finalists in the Under 21 European Championships that Germany have just won in Poland, and Nani, who returns from Confederations Cup duty, with the unfortunate tag of being the player that took the penalty that knocked his country out of the competition at the semi-final stage.

The three return to training on the 20th and are pencilled in to join all the other squad members who are heading to North America. Games are scheduled in Canada against New York Cosmos on the 22nd and against FC Cincinnati in the Nippert Stadium in Ohio on the 24th. The American side are likely to have Josu in their squad, a product of La Masia School of Football in Barcelona where he played alongside Gerald Deulofeu.

The third phase of the Valencia pre-season sees the club return to Europe and play top English and German clubs.

Firstly, there is a trip to the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, where they are likely to face the formidable pair of Jermaine Defoe and Nathan Ake on July 30th, and then they head to Northern Germany to take on Werder Bremen.This is arguably the most interesting of all the pre-season matches and many of the fans from both sides still remember the two spicy confrontations in the Europa League in 2010. Vying for a place in the quarter-finals, Valencia headed to the Weserstadion tied at one goal each and without the suspended Ever Banega. The second leg was a remarkable game that ended in a 4-4 draw, thanks to a superb hat-trick from David Villa and another goal from Juan Mata. Valencia scraped through on away goals and another match of this calibre would certainly add numbers to the Valencia season ticket quotas, which currently stands at around 22,000 for the forthcoming campaign.

To date, the Trofeo Naranja opponents have yet to be named for the game on August 12th. This is likely to be the only home pre-season friendly and often doubles up as the presentation night of the players to the fans. In the past it has drawn top class visitors. This century Roma, Arsenal and AC Milan are among the clubs that have accepted Valencia’s request to play in the prestigious event and another quality name from the football world would see fans flocking to La Mestalla.

With the new boss Marcelino, who is the sixth manager in charge during Peter Lim’s tenure, looking to trim down the current first team squad and replace it over time with some of the Mestalla youngsters, it was inevitable some players would be on the move. He has started by selling off Matthew Ryan and Enzo Perez to Brighton and River Plate, respectively, and several other players will be allowed to leave if the right offers come along.

Moving on to Levante UD, they will spend pre-season in more familiar surroundings. They are heading to Campoamor in Murcia for general training work but will play a friendly whilst they are there against Cadiz, on the 24th July.

Six days later they have agreed to play Villarreal in Alcoy. Then two games in two days sees the club entertain Real Zaragoza in Teruel on the 5th of August and then Deportivo Alves in Elche the following day.

They are also back in Elche the following Saturday to play in the LVIII Trofeo Festa d’Elx against the home town club.

Season tickets are now on sale for both Levante and Valencia with great discounts available.
John Howden
Anyone wishing further information can visit the club websites …
www.levanteud.com
www.valenciacf.es

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