Gaizka Mendieta: My Valencia had the measure of Barcelona

The former Spain international, who played for both clubs, has fond memories of his time at Mestalla when Los Che were more than a match for their Catalan rivals
Gaizka Mendieta is hoping that Valencia can roll back the years when they tackle Barcelona in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

The former Spain international represented both La Liga outfits during his playing days but he is best remembered for his exploits at Mestalla.

Indeed, Mendieta was an integral member of the Los Che line-up which made it to back-to-back Champions League finals at the turn of the millennium only to be beaten by Real Madrid in the 2000 tournament decider before losing to Bayern Munich on penalites the following year.

However, Mendieta always enjoyed playing against Barca, whom they defeated on their way to their first ever appearance in Europe's showpiece event.

"In my day it was Valencia who, somehow, had the measure of Barcelona, when we used to face them in the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa," he told Marca.

Claudio Lopez was often the match-winner when Mendieta's Valencia used to take on the Catalans and the 37-year-old Basque believes that Roberto Soldado is Los Che's modern-day equivalent "because of the goals and the performances he is producing for the club".

Mendieta, who was capped 40 times by his country, spent nine years at Mestalla before making a big-money move to Lazio in 2001, but was loaned out to Barcelona the following year.

Starting in November and continuing through to the middle of February, is publishing exclusive extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated new book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. The last extract looked at how Barca suffered rare disappointment at the hands of Real Madrid in a gripping finale to last season's Copa del Rey. Don't miss it!