“Gaizka Mendieta is the bat of Valencia's shield”. This phrase came to express Pedro Cortés, at that time president of Valencia, on the key role exerted blond player valencianista entity early in the century in which we now live.
The peculiar and always expressive President, he was in full swing at the time of releasing such a pearl that went down in history. Valencia, astound succeeded in reaching two Champions League finals in a row, two finals that unfortunately for them would end in defeat, but that team, he was capable of being scary and his leader was a blond player who had been at the club for a few years.
Gaizka Mendieta, one of the best players in the history of Valencia
Mendieta grew up in Castellón so his first steps as a player were taken at the Castellón club with which he made his debut in the Second Division. His promising future, She sent him to Valencia, where he was going to become a soccer star and one of the best players in the history of Valencia. It was not an easy road.
And is that Gaizka Mendieta remained many seasons in the shade. Considered an achiever player, limited or only aligned in minor matches, the mythical '6’ Valencian player could only take out the jar of essences in his last seasons with the Valencia shirt. His early years at the club were very gray, to the point that was always in the pools to leave the club.
The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century the best moments of Gaizka Mendieta
With the arrival of Claudio Ranieri their luck would change. Italian coach managed to get the better of blond player, to the point of after twenty years of drought, Valencia was going to raise a new title, the King's Cup 1999 against Atlético de Madrid. Gaizka apart from giving an exhibition from the mediocentro, He scored an anthological goal for the memory, hat and volley trademark. One of the best goals in the history of Valencia.
Gaizka Mendieta during that season he left several more anthological goals such as the volley at the Camp Nou and a manual of penalties where he became a true specialist, the best is remembered. With Hector Cuper coach, level would become superlative. He reached the highest point of his career, the point where Pedro Cortés, chest puffed as could be, He released the resounding phrase with which we began this article.
Mendieta hand, Valencia was to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in its history, in the new competition format. That same year they were to reach the final then lose against Real Madrid in Paris by a strong 3-0. The next season they repeated this time machada, fall in Milan after an agonizing penalty shootout in which Oliver Kahn I was going to stop the decisive penalty Mauricio Pellegrino.
Outside of Valencia his career was no longer the same
After the Milan final 2001, ‘Mendi’ was transferred for eight billion of the old pesetas to Roman Lazio being the signing of a most expensive Spanish player in history. So it was until Torres was signed by Chelsea years later. Italy did not go down too well.
In the eternal city, only remained one season where his performance did not approach anywhere near as exhibited in the ranks of Valencia. Curiosities of life, Valencia won the League in the first season without Gaizka Mendieta and began what is possibly the best years in its history with that Valencia by Rafa Benítez.
After a season in Roma, It was loaned to FC Barcelona, where he played many games but did not finish convincing, so the culé team did not exercise the purchase option it had on him. In the end, in a dilapidated business for Lazio, Gaizka Mendieta ended up marching to England to enlist in the ranks of Middlesbrough FC where he retired in 2008 after serious injury.
With the Spanish team participated in the European Championship 2000 and the The World 2002 played in Korea and Japan. The gradual decline of his career, He made to stay at the gates to contest the Euro 2004. It was 40 caps.
His facet as a dj and commentator
After leaving professional football, Gaizka Mendieta became a well-known DJ and also a sports commentator for different television networks such as Sky English. Definitely, a versatile man.