The player with the second most games for the club remembers his time at Valencia CF
Few players are as closely tied to Valencia CF as Ricardo Arias, the man to have represented the club for the most seasons during his playing days and now an ambassador for them. He spoke to VCF Media this week as part of the 'Legends Of The Centenary' series, remembering some of his greatest moments in white and black.
Starting out at Valencia CF
"Valencia CF had been scouting me for a year. They decided to sign me when I was 18. I played for VCF Mestalla for a year, and then Paseiguito, Manolo Mestre and the coaching staff decided I should come up to the first team. That was to see if I'd develop into the Ricardo Arias that they wanted me to be, or if I would fall by the wayside.
Something as simple as me being the player who spent the most seasons at the club -16- and the player with the second most appearances -behind Fernando Colomer- makes me tremendously proud. I had the great honour of overtaking one of my heroes, who was also an influence on me: Manolo Mestre. He was like a father to me. I broke both of his records at the same time: For years at the club and for games.
I hope that at some point a Valencian player overtakes my record. I would be very proud and very happy about that."
The passion he still feels for Valencia CF
"I don't know how to live without thinking about or being near Valencia CF, working for the club or talking about them. I came here aged 18, and I left when I was 35. I came back when I was 36. I've had ties with Valencia CF for 27 years, and I don't know anything else. When people talk about football, I talk about Valencia CF. When they talk about footballers, I talk about Valencia CF players. When they talk about stadiums, I talk about Mestalla. For me, Valencia CF are at the top in everything, and I don't know any other way."
"If I had to pick one game that was special for me, then I'd say the day that I debuted against Malaga here. It was a Wednesday, and we won 3-1. Maybe I'd also say the first game in which I scored a goal here, against Sevilla. We won that one 3-0. These memories are unforgetable.
There's the last game in the Segunda División, against Elche, in which we finally left that division behind, doing so with authority and pride and with everyone supporting us.
There's also my farewell game. That one is unforgetable. That's a game for my children, my grandchildren, and for everyone who was there. Everyone who, in some way, acknowledged however much or little I did for the club."
His current role
"I'm doing something that I like, which is representing my club. I don't think I'd know how to do anything else. I'm in the ideal place, the ideal club and the ideal home. I don't think I could ask for more"
The full interview with Arias is available on VCF Media.
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