A few years ago, I became a fan of Spanish midfielder Gaizka Mendieta. He was Valencia CF’s captain, playmaker & midfield general, the heart and soul of the team. I watched as this very talented footballer lead his club to the top 4 of the Spanish League. Valencia were a very talented team and they won many admirers throughout the football world with their exciting & passionate play, based around the gifted Mendy, as he is affectionately called. He led Valencia to two consecutive Champions League finals in 2000 & 2001 only to lose both. In 2001 he made a big move move from Valencia to Italian giants Lazio for 48 million pounds but he had a very disappointing season with them. Lazio loaned him to Barcelona for the 2002-03 season and then to English side Middlesborough in 2003-04. He made the move to the EPL permanent and is still a member of the ‘Boro squad.
In his time at Middlesbrough FC, Mendieta was part of several memorable footballing moments including Carling Cup glory bringing Middlesbrough their first ever silverware, and also an inspriational performance against Manchester United scoring two goals. However injuries and long durations to gain match fitness has seen him relegated to the substitutes bench and falling out of favour with the bosses. But many fans are vocal about their support for him and to see him playing in the first team. Mendy hasn’t featured in a long time and it would be wise for him to see out his career at another club.
This brings me to think about several other good players whose careers suffered after moving to a much bigger club. Don’t get me wrong; Valencia is a big club with plenty of support. But I am talking about the really big giants like Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio, AS Roma & especially Barcelona & Real Madrid. Ironically, after Mendieta moved from Valencia, they have gone on to win the Spanish La Liga twice, the UEAF Cup & the UEFA Super Cup once each!