Mestalla misery

Image: Canizares: grim assessment

Valencia's plight means they can no longer be considered a big club, Santiago Canizares told Revista.

Che cash crisis consigns glory days to past

Valencia's financial plight means they can no longer be considered a big club, according to Mestalla legend Santiago Canizares. The goalkeeper was there during the glory days around the turn of the century, when they twice reached the Champions League final and then - under Rafael Benitez - won two Spanish titles in three years. Those days seem a long way away now, with debts crippling the club, a new stadium to pay for and most of the first team up for sale. Chief among their assets are the star trio of David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata, and Canizares told Revista: "I do not see their futures at Valencia - the club cannot hang on to those kinds of players. "The blame doesn't lie with those who currently run the club, and the people do not deserve this, but those players should be at big clubs - like Valencia once was. "Right now - financially speaking - Valencia is a very small club, and unless there is a huge change and a wealthy group comes and buys the club, those players will move on. "The three players are worth a lot of money, and what Valencia will have to do is reduce costs by selling shares and those kinds of assets." It hurts the former Spain No 1 to talk about his former club in such terms since his time in Valencia was the most fulfilling of a distinguished career. He said: "It is the club that allowed me to develop my profession during the best years of my career. "I was lucky to be there when we had great players and great coaches who made the team great. I lived moments which will be very difficult to repeat in the history of Valencia, and that I will always remember." It is testament to an enduring connection between Canizares and Valencia that a long period spent at Real Madrid at the start of his career almost goes unmentioned these days. The man once described by Peter Schmeichel as "the best goalkeeper in the world" has two La Liga winners' medals from his time at the Bernabeu, and it was there that his iron will to win was forged. He said: "At Real Madrid, from the age of 16, you're obliged to win all your games and that instils a great competitiveness in you. Physically and technically it was a great help, but I cannot stress enough the importance of the ambitious mentality that was instilled in me."

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