Real Madrid vs Valencia: Five talking points

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, December 1: Two of La Liga's biggest historic clubs, Real Madrid and Valencia have shared many highs and lows over the decades and have faced off on countless memorable occasions.

Although the game is always a keenly contested battle given the traditional rivalry between both clubs and their respective cities, fans and players at both clubs have also savoured moments to bring them together. Here are five talking points ahead of the big clash between the two sides which will be played at 8.45pm local time (Sunday 1.15 am IST)

Marcelino's record

Current Valencia coach Marcelino Garcia Toral famously won his first game against Real Madrid as a manager, guiding then top-flight side Recreativo de Huelva to a 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu in December 2006.

His record against Los Blancos since then has not been as impressive, with just one more win in 14 further meetings with five different La Liga teams: Recreativo Huelva, Racing Santander, Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia.

Last season's 2-2 at the Bernabeu was a positive result for Los Che, however, and most visiting fans would not complain if their team puts in a similar performance this time around.

Solari's positive run

Real Madrid's new full-time coach Santi Solari had a decent record against Valencia as a player and will now be hoping to keep that run going this time.

Solari lost his first two games against Los Che for his first LaLiga team, Atletico Madrid. But once he moved to the Bernabeu in 2000 that record improved, going on to win four and draw one of seven top flight meetings, as well as knocking them out of the Copa del Rey in 2004.

This will now be the 42-year old's first meeting with Valencia as a manager; the regional structure of Spain's lower divisions meant he did not face them in past roles coaching Real Madrid's youth teams and Castilla reserve side.

Both jerseys

Many players have donned the white shirts of both these sides over the years, going back as fa as 1930s Spain international Simon Lecue who won the 1936 Copa del Rey with Madrid and 1943/44 La Liga title with Valencia.

Players to have lifted the La Liga trophy with one or both teams include Quique Sanchez Flores (who moved from Valencia to Madrid in 1994) - who is today better known for his successful managerial stints with Valencia and Atletico Madrid - Predrag Mijatovic (Valencia to Madrid in 1996) and Santi Canizares, who went the other way in 1998. Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano is one of the few men to have also coached both sides, following up his eight La Liga trophies at the Bernabeu by winning the 1970/71 title in his first season in the dugout at Mestalla.

Madrid connection

The player connection between the two clubs has always been strong and Valencia captain Dani Parejo, defender Ezequiel Garay and winger Denis Cheryshev will all have to be careful to choose the right dressing room on Saturday evening!

Midfield general Parejo was born in the Spanish capital and came through Madrid's youth ranks, making his LaLiga debut in a 4-0 victory at Sporting Gijon in September 2009, a game in which current Blancos left-back Marcelo scored. Parejo then spent time at English club QPR and fellow LaLiga Santander side Getafe before joining Valencia in 2011. Garay played 25 league games for Madrid between 2009 and 2011, often regularly partnering current Madrid captain Sergio Ramos in defence. The Argentina international even scored against Valencia in December 2009, seven years before he joined the Mestalla outfit. Cheryshev is another 'La Fabrica' graduate, who made his LaLiga debut for the reigning European champions in a 1-0 victory against Granada in September 2015.

The Russia international has also represented Sevilla and Villarreal during his time in La Liga and has racked up a record of one win, one draw and one defeat against Madrid.

Valencia connection

Playmaker Isco joined Valencia's youth system aged 14 in 2006 and quickly moved through the ranks as a teenager to become a big star for the club's Valencia Mestalla youth team.

In 2010/11 he helped Valencia Mestalla to promotion to LaLiga 1l2l3 with a side which included his Spanish international teammate Paco Alcacer, who is currently banging in the goals for Borussia Dortmund in Germany while on loan from Barcelona. Isco's senior LaLiga debut came in November 2010 at the age of just 18 when he came off the bench in a 2-0 win over Getafe.

The Andalusian had a stint at hometown club Malaga before landing at the Bernabeu in 2013. Now 26, Isco's fond memories of his time at Valencia have never stopped him scoring against his old club, first for Malaga in 2012/13 and then again for Real Madrid in 2014/15.

Also read: La Liga preview | Five classic ties

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