Valencia’s La Liga success in the 2001/02 season was a feat which is unlikely to be repeated. Despite the presence of Real Madrid and Barcelona, Rafael Benitez led Valencia to their first league title in over 30 years.
What is even more impressive is that amongst the team were 17 different goalscorers who shared 51 goals – an average of just three goals per player.
So how were the goals shared?
1. Vicente (1)
Just one league goal in the La Liga campaign for the dynamic winger. Image Source: Twitter
2. Mauricio Pellegrino (1)
Southampton's current manager was amongst the goals too. Image Source: Twitter
3. Marchena (1)
A Valencia legend. Solid for both club and country. Image Source: Twitter
4. Fabio Aurelio (1)
The Brazilian man with the wand on his left foot. Image Source: Twitter
5. Gonzalo de los Santos (1)
Anchor. Image Source: Twitter
6. John Carew (1)
The Norweigan target-man got his big move to Europe when Valencia came calling. Image Source: Twitter
7. Adrian Ilie (2)
Romania's footballer of the year from 1998 would soon be La Liga champion after missing out on Champions League glory twice. Image Source: Twitter
8. Roberto Ayala (2)
One of football's greatest examples that height doesn't matter at centre-back. Image Source: Twitter
9. David Albelda (2)
Another Valencia legend. Image Source: Twitter
10. Kily Gonzalez (3)
The Argentina helped Los Che Els Taronges to glory before his success at Inter. Image Source: Twitter
11. Juan Sanchez (4)
Valencian born. Sanchez scored four goals as Valencia ignited their short period of dominance. Image Source: Twitter
12. Angulo (4)
The attacking midfielder who played for two nations. Image Source: Twitter
13. Pablo Aimar (4)
So we're up to goalscorer 13, and still only have four goals. The Argentina maestro, arguably one of Valencia's best ever players. Image Source: Twitter
14. Salvo Ballesta (5)
Brilliant name for a footballer. Salva was amongst the scorers as Valencia held Barcelona to a 2-2 draw. Image Source: Twitter
15. Rufete (5)
It was Valencia that profited from the product of Barcelona's youth system. Image Source: Twitter
16. Mista (5)
Man like Mista. The Spanish forward who while wasn't as clinical as a David Villa, could be unanimously appreciated for consistent performances of a decent nature. Image Source: Twitter
17. Ruben Baraja (7)
Valencia's top scorer for Rafael Benitez's La Liga success. Image Source: Twitter
It’s highly impressive for any team to conquer Real Madrid and Barcelona, but to do it with your top scorer being a midfielder with just seven goals, credit is due to Rafael Benitez who masterminded his legendary Valencia side to two league titles and a UEFA cup. A tactical masterclass – especially in defence.
It’s no surprise that the next venture of Rafael Benitez quickly delivered success as the Spaniard was dominant in the Champions League, guiding Liverpool to two finals, winning one.
The difference between Valencia’s current squad and their team back in the early 2000s is ridiculous. For a club who have so much history, it’s disappointing to see that they’ve fallen from their time as one of Spain’s most competitive sides.
We hope that in the near future they can return with players on par with the likes of Marchena, Albelda, Vicente, Aimar and Ruben Baraja – who arguably formed the greatest Valencia team in history.