Academy21 February 2024

 Ciutat Esportiva inaugurates mural with academy first team debutants  

An emotional event with a representation of the 116 players who have played in official matches for Valencia CF after training at the VCF Academy.

The nerves that Juan Sánchez felt before making his debut for Valencia CF against Barcelona FC are the same as those that David Otorbi felt a few weeks ago in Cartagena. In between are 32 years of difference and a long list of players who, like them, have shared a period of training at the Ciutat Esportiva Valencia CF before making their first team debuts in an official match.

Those 116 VCF Academy debutants in the first team since the official inauguration of the Ciutat Esportiva on 19 February 1992 are now part of a mural that has been unveiled this week, coinciding with the 32nd anniversary of the Ciutat Esportiva del Valencia CF—a living mural, which is constantly growing and with a clear slogan: From Paterna to Mestalla.  


The best example is the photo that brought together a good part of the current Valencia CF and VCF Mestalla first-team squad players who have made their debuts starting at least from the Valencianista B team. 

18 youngsters -and not so young- posed proudly in a big family photo in which Juan Sánchez, the first debutant, was also present, as well as the Corporate Director, Javier Solís, the Sporting Director, Miguel Ángel Corona and the Director of the VCF Academy, Luis Martínez, accompanied by José Jiménez, Head of the Recruitment Department and numerous workers of the VCF Academy, among them the also former players and members of the mural Miguel Ángel Angulo, David Rangel and Manuel Ruz.


"This mural reflects the fulfilment of our objective: to train players to reach the Valencia CF first team," explains Luis Martínez.

"This list of players carries behind it the work of many people who help them daily and the good work that has been done at the Ciutat Esportiva for many years, not only with these players but with all the boys who have passed through here," he points out. This work has led the VCF Academy to be recognised as the fourth best in Europe in the training of players to compete at the elite level, according to the latest report of October 2023 by the CIES Football Observatory.  


"It's a very heartfelt mural for all the people who come from the bottom," admits José Luis Gayà, the Valencia CF captain who occupies the 70th position on the mural, a reminder that the player from Pedreguer made his debut for Valencia CF almost 12 years ago. Gayà is a reference point for all the players at the VCF Academy, who have a new stimulus in this mural." For all the boys who come to train here at the Ciutat Esportiva, seeing this mural has to be a motivation and an illusion to continue working, enjoying and training," concludes Gayà. 


The list of 116 players includes illustrious names who have written great pages in the history of Valencia CF: Mendieta, Farinós, Albelda, Angulo, Curro Torres, Albiol, Silva, Jordi Alba, Alcácer, Juan Bernat... and a long list in which the first of them is Juan Sánchez. 

"It's a source of pride to be at the top of the list because there are great players on that list. I arrived at the VCF Academy when I was 12 years old and as a result of a lot of hard work with a lot of help from my family, I was able to make it to the first team," says Sánchez, who recalls his debut and the nerves and the chance he had and couldn't score. 


"In every era of Valencia CF there have always been players from the youth academy who have contributed a lot," recalls Sánchez."It's not easy for an academy graduate to get to the top and become a professional. You always have that dream of being able to play at Mestalla and I was that lucky," concludes Sánchez, who is the first on a list that would be much longer if we were to go back to when the Ciutat Esportiva was just the Paterna grounds. That dream is held by the nearly 450 players who train every day at the Ciutat Esportiva and who now have a new element of motivation in this mural.

"It is located right in the area where they pass through to the training pitches, and for these players to see that they have made it to the first team is an incentive to work and that one day their name will be written on this mural," concludes Luis Martínez.From Paterna to Mestalla.A living mural that is continually growing.

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Copyright 2013-2024 Valencia CF. The use of the editorial content of the article is permitted as long as the source gets the credit and contains the following link: Photographs by Lázaro de la Peña, reuse is not permitted.

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