Valencia legends

Top 10 Valencia Legends of All Time

Los Che are one of the biggest soccer clubs in Spain.

by Radostin Spasov

Valencia CF is one of the most prominent Spanish clubs. With six La Liga titles, eight finals won in Copa del Rey, and half a dozen European trophies, Los Che is a century-old story of glory and success. Over decades, much football talent left its mark at the Mestalla stadium. That’s why it’s not easy to limit ourselves to ten, speaking of the best Valencia legends of all time. 

Our selection covers almost the entire club’s history. Starting from the early Los Che triumphs, we reach the late 90s and early 2000s. It was probably the greatest era of the Mestalla team, so we picked many of those Valencia legend players. As you would expect, we included incredible scorers like Mario Kempes and David Villa. But not only strikers make the list – we select famous Valencia players from all lines.

The Top 10 Valencia Legends of All Time:

Mundo Suarez

Mundo Suarez

You may have heard of him, but he is still Valencia’s leading scorer of all time. With 186 in 210 league games, Edmundo Suárez Trabanco, simply known as Mundo, remains on top of the club’s historical ranking for most goals in La Liga. 

Born in the Basque country, this striker practically dedicated his whole professional career to Los Che. Mundo helped Valencia win half of its titles –  three out of six. At the end of two of those champion seasons (1941/42 and 1943/44), he also deserved the Golden Boot for being the top-flight best scorer in Spain. That’s enough to select him among the Valencia legends.

Waldo Machado

Waldo Machado

Another goalscoring machine from the old days, Waldo Machado, is regarded as a legend at two franchises – Fluminense and Valencia. To this day, he remains the all-time top scorer of the Brazilian side with 319 goals. But he was also very prolific in his nine seasons wearing the Los Che jersey.

The South American striker scored 115 times in the Primera division, winning the Pichichi award with 24 goals in the 1966/67 season. In the same campaign, Waldo got his only silverware with Valencia in a national competition called Copa del Generalísimo back then (now we know it as Copa del Rey). Waldo Machado also helped Valencia win two trophies on the European level, hitting 30 goals for the club in international club games.

Mario Kempes

Mario Kempes Valencia

He is not just among the best Valencia players – he is the only one to become a world champion and a World Cup’s Golden Boot winner while being a Los Che team member. Mario Kempes was Argentina’s greatest star at the end of the 70s, leading the Albiceleste team to its first global trophy with two goals in the final, played in Buenos Aires.

Before that, El Matador set his name as one of the brightest Primera division stars. Kempes landed at Mestalla in 1976 and led the Los Che attack for seven years (in two spells divided by a short stint at River Plate). Kempes won the Pichichi Award in his first two seasons in Spain. The Argentine striker helped the club add three significant trophies – Copa del Rey (1978–79), UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup (1979–80), and UEFA Super Cup (1980). Overall, Mario Kempes scored almost 150 goals in different championships and tournaments for Valencia CF.


Valencia legends

His name is probably largely unknown to most millennials, but a quarter century ago, it was synonymous with loyalty and fidelity. Fernando spent almost his entire career at the Mestalla stadium – it’s been 15 seasons from 1983 to 1998 when he moved to Wolverhampton.

The influential midfielder amassed 556 with the Los Che jersey in such an extended period. This longevity made him the Valencia player with the most appearances in the club’s history. On top of that, Fernando scored 143 goals in this decade and a half, placing him 4th in the club’s all-time scoring chart behind Mundo, Waldo, and Kempes.

Gaizka Mendieta

He was one of the most spectacular midfielders ever playing with the Los Che shirt. Gaizka Mendieta was born in Bilbao, but Valencia CF happened to be his football destiny. He made his La Liga debut at the age of 19 to play more than 300 games for the club in 8 years in Spain and Europe.

Mendieta was a key member of one of the greatest Valencia teams ever. In 1999, the Mestalla side won the Copa del Rey trophy, followed by another piece of silverware after the Supercopa final. Gaizka was even more essential on the international club scene, where Valencia reached the UEFA Champions League final in two consecutive years (2000, 2001). Well, the midfielder left in the summer of 2001, just before Los Che won their first title in La Liga after more than three decades. Nevertheless, Mendieta remains one of the Mestalla all-time favorites. And one of the best Valencia players ever.

Santiago Canizares

Valencia legends

Every team needs a solid goalkeeper in order to achieve glory. But that’s not the only reason to select Santi Canizares among the best Valencia players of all time. Born and raised in the Spanish capital, he wasn’t lucky to make a breakthrough in Real Madrid but succeeded at Mestalla.

Canizares landed there in 1998 and experienced a decade full of glory. Santi was the Valencia shot-stopper in both UCL Finals – ironically, against Real Madrid in 2000 and against Bayern the following season. Canizares was triumphant twice in La Liga under Rafa Benitez’s guidance in 2002 and 2004. He won six major trophies as a Valencia goalkeeper and participated in more than 400 games for Los Che.

David Albelda

Valencia legends

It’s tough for a defender to stand out in a club with dozens of prolific strikers. But when his name is David Albelda, it really makes a difference. Just like Canizares, he was a key member of Los Che’s squad that reached the Champions League final twice with coach Hector Cúper and remained at the team under Rafa Benitez to win two La Liga titles.

What’s more impressive is the fact that Albelda was a homegrown player. On a professional level, he played for Valencia from 1997 to 2013 and has been the team’s captain for more than a decade. With 481 games to his name wearing the Mestalla side jersey, David is 3rd in the all-time club’s ranking for most appearances. 

Pablo Aimar

valencia legends

The mighty Valencia team from the late 90s and early 2000s relied heavily on fighters like David Albelda, Amedeo Carboni, Roberto Ayala, Miguel Ángel Angulo, and Ruben Baraja. But Los Che needed some magic to achieve the glory and found it in the feet of this small Argentine guy.

Only 168 cm tall (5 feet 6 inches), Pablo Aimar joined Valencia a few months before the second UEFA Champions League final loss against Bayern Munich. The nickname El Mago (The Magician) says enough. The South American maestro became an absolute hero at the Mestalla stadium and was instrumental in winning the 2002 and 2004 La Liga titles. Aimar played 216 games and scored 34 goals for Los Che before leaving in the summer of 2006.

David Villa

Despite missing the silverware during his time at Mestalla (except for the 2008 Copa del Rey), he is beyond doubt among the most famous Valencia players at all. It’s unlikely to be wrong if we call David Villa the best Los Che striker in the 21st century.

You can see it by the numbers. The Asturian forward joined the Mestalla side in 2005 and scored 130 goals in just five seasons before heading to FC Barcelona. David Villa won a record four times the Telmo Zarra Award (this honor is given to the highest-scoring Spaniard of the season in La Liga) and achieved it as a Valencia player. But it wasn’t just the stats – El Guaje (The Kid in Asturian) had the spark and the passion that made him one of the biggest heroes at Mestalla.

Dani Parejo

Dani Parejo Valencia

The past decade wasn’t so bright for Valencia CF under the rule of the controversial Asian businessman Peter Lim. However, Los Che still succeeded in finishing in La Liga’s Top 4 of La Liga for two straight seasons and winning Copa del Rey in 2019. The leader of this team was undoubtedly Dani Parejo.

A Real Madrid academy product, the midfielder never really had a chance for a breakthrough with the Los Blancos jersey. He joined Valencia CF in 2011 and remained at Mestalla for nine years. Parejo became the team’s captain, amassing 383 games and scoring 64 goals for Los Che. And it was a real shame that he was practically forced to leave the club with tears in his eyes in 2020.

There are many other Valencia legends we could put on the list. Fantastic players like Claudio Lopez and David Silva are worthy of receiving at least the honorable mention. And so does a prominent 90s scorer like Lyuboslav Penev. Even in the recent turbulent decade, Los Che had brilliant stars like Carlos Soler and Goncalo Guedes. Last but not least, Ruben Baraja deserves credit for being a vital member of the early 2000s squad and for his work as a coach at Mestalla. He saved Los Che from the shame of being relegated but, more importantly, introduced several academy prodigies into the first team. So, maybe thanks to Baraja, some of these young lands will become one of the best Valencia players ever.

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