Madrid and Valencia take rivalry to another level

Stade de France, Paris – 24/05/2000 – Final
Real Madrid
Real Madrid
Morientes 39 McManaman 67 Raúl González 75
3 - 0
Valencia
Valencia
Tactical masterclass

"It was one of those days when you go out and play, and everything just seems to click." Steve McManaman

1999/00

• Spain had three representatives in the semi-finals – Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Valencia CF – and for the first time two sides from the same nation contested the UEFA Champions League showpiece.

• Barcelona scored in each of their 16 UEFA Champions League games and racked up a record 45 goals for the campaign, Rivaldo hitting ten as he, Mário Jardel and Raúl González shared the top scorer honour.

• Simone Inzaghi became only the second player to score four goals in a game as S.S. Lazio beat Olympique de Marseille 5-1 in the second group stage. AC Milan's Marco van Basten achieved the feat in 1992.

The 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League season broke new ground, with its biggest field yet whittled down to, for the first time, to a final featuring two teams from the same country. However, Real Madrid CF's eighth final success ensured that proceedings ended on a familiar note.

They won it in some style, too, against an exuberant Valencia CF side that had thrilled en route to Paris, not least with a 4-1 drubbing of Spanish champions FC Barcelona in the last four. National order was restored at the Stade de France, with Héctor Cúper's side's stylish attack pushed back throughout, their supply lines cut by a Madrid team committed to fighting fire with fire.

Their opening goal six minutes before half-time was a case in point, involving both full-backs as Roberto Carlos's free-kick eventually found its way to Míchel Salgado on the right. He scooped a cross towards the far post where Fernando Morientes was on hand to head down past Santiago Cañizares. How long ago the Merengues' heavy second group stage defeats against FC Bayern München three months earlier now felt.

Valencia pushed for an equaliser, with Gaizka Mendieta always a threat, but Madrid held firm and always looked the more likely scorers. Cañizares did well to deny Raúl González after the hour but it brought only a brief reprieve – four minutes later Steve McManaman made it 2-0. The Englishman, outstanding as the midfield foil to the flighty Fernando Redondo, collected a clearance on the edge of the box and drove a shot inside the post.

Seven minutes later the contest was put beyond Valencia's reach by Raúl, who gathered a pass from substitute Sávio and dashed 60 metres before rounding off the move and the win.

Star players

  • Mendieta

    The driving force behind Valencia CF's return to prominence, Spain international Mendieta was an all-rounder as adept at protecting his defence as he was punching holes in opponents' rearguards. Twice named best midfielder in the UEFA Champions League as Valencia finished runners-up in 2000 and 2001, he had moved to Middlesbrough FC, winning the 2004 English League Cup, by the time Valencia won two titles in three seasons.

  • Morientes

    A striker with formidable aerial prowess and an eye for goal, Morientes spent seven years at Real Madrid CF and, often deployed alongside Raúl González, helped the club to three UEFA Champions League titles. Twice a Liga winner, he spearheaded AS Monaco FC's run to the 2004 UEFA Champions League final during a loan spell, and wound down his career at Liverpool FC, Valencia CF and Olympique de Marseille. Morientes scored 27 goals in 47 appearances for Spain.

  • Raúl González

    When Club Atlético de Madrid scaled down their academy in 1992 to save money, they could not have guessed how expensive the measure would be. Striker Raúl González was welcomed with open arms by Real Madrid CF; when he left 18 years, 740 games and 323 goals later, he had helped Los Merengues to three UEFA Champions League titles and six league titles. A classic goalscorer, he also registered 44 in 102 appearances for Spain.

What happened next?

• Valencia CF suffered more final woe at the San Siro 12 months later, losing 5-4 in a shoot-out after trading a pair of penalties in a 1-1 draw against FC Bayern München.

• Real Madrid CF's defence ended with a semi-final loss to Bayern but they claimed their ninth title in 2002, Zinédine Zidane's memorable strike sealing a 2-1 win against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

• Zidane was among a number of big name signings who began to arrive in the next two years, known as the Galácticos, along with Luís Figo, Ronaldo and David Beckham.

• Rafael Benítez replaced FC Internazionale Milano-bound Héctor Cúper in 2001 and guided Valencia to two Liga titles, their fifth and sixth, and the 2004 UEFA Cup.

• Vicente del Bosque, who surprisingly left Madrid after winning the 2002/03 Liga title, became the first coach to win the UEFA Champions League, EURO and FIFA World Cup.

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