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Sep 2011
11:28 Comments (11)
Champions League at Anfield

General Articles

Xavi Valero

We all have played on many football pitches in our lives. Neighbourhood football pitches, muddy pitches, pitches we only dreamt about, pitches which took us a step forward, pitches to forget and pitches of hope and many more….Stadiums full of history and stories, filled with failures and legends, which have moulded our careers and have propelled us forward, sometimes without direction. Football offers no truce. It devours and forgets only to reinvent itself and start again.

Amidst this whirlpool, amongst so many people, reaching Anfield is to reach one of the possible ends of the road. I say this because I feel fortunate to have been one of the chosen ones. One of those who have stepped on the pitch at Anfield, one who has lived Anfield, one who has experienced in person that football has a dimension greater than the banality that current times offer us. One that has been able to see that Albert Camus was right in saying that stadiums are a melting pot of culture and that in them, like in no other place, we can learn about human nature. Just looking round Anfield you can appreciate the dignity of its people, you can understand the past of a city hit by a history of hardship and realise that football can fill a wounded city with pride and hope.

Amongst so many memories, the Champions League. In no other European stadium have I seen fans believe so much in their team as at Anfield. Real Madrid, Inter Milan, the impossible game against Arsenal….and so many more to remember how ‘the reds’ were capable of putting together, on the streets of Anfield Road, the old essential values of football with the order, rigor, efficiency and the beauty of the game. Giving meaning to the initial roar at the first whistle at Anfield, to the songs full of belief and memories sung by The Kop or showing the possible paths of victory in the winter fog of San Siro, perhaps this is the secret and meaning of all tactics.

During three seasons at the club, my memories of Champions League nights go back to the certainty I saw in the faces of the players in the pre match talks in the hotels in Milan and Madrid, a few hours before playing decisive games which would end up contributing to the Club’s great history. My memories also turn to Reina, with silences full of respect before facing Anfield, realising that the appointment was with the history of a club, a city and its people who have turned the path to Anfield Road into a path of hope and belief.

Author: Xavi Valero, goalkeeping coach Rafa Benitez staff.

11 Comments Send us your opinions
16/09/11 at 13:11:46 #1
Lovely piece Xavi.
Made me think about the impact that Anfield now has on peoples lives because it has become more than just a stadium. It is more like a house of worship now.

Church attendances now are almost non existent and at Anfield you get to see a unity where people connect to one another in spirit as they used to in mass on a Sunday.

More than just that, in Anfields case, the spirit of those who were lost is brought back to life by the fans when they sing, reminding all that you never walk alone in life or death.
16/09/11 at 14:29:59 #2
Brillinat article Senor Xavi. We are greatful for your time at Anfield and would love to see you back in the future. We miss you (and so does Pepe i suppose!!!)
16/09/11 at 14:39:00 #3
Oh how much did I wish this writing went on and on and on! As the desire that the songs, the echoes and the passion never stop on the Anfield night on a Europe night. The songs that carried the used to be avearge players to be winners and propelled us to the no 1 in Europe with a team three to four times cheaper than Stamford Bridge or the SAn Siro or the Nou Camp and many more. The lectrifying and moving song of YWNWA with a calm Rafa and determined Captain Fantastic when facing a do or die game!! What a Club, what a field, what a peole. Namibia
16/09/11 at 15:13:58 #4
I agree with you, Anfield is different, amazing atmosphere.

No doubt about that.
16/09/11 at 15:31:34 #5
Waldimir Rudolph(South Africa)
Very good article that characterise the spirit of Liverpool FC and its fans. We will forever be grateful to you, Rafa and the rest of his staff for the memories and joy us as fans experienced on those Champions League nights as well as in the Premier League. Cant wait to see the city erupt on the announcement of the RETURN.
17/09/11 at 19:35:57 #6
Trevor Yong
A lovely article which says so much with so few words. Thanks for your time at Anfield, Xavi, and best of luck for the future
18/09/11 at 01:57:20 #7
'twas truely a golden age. Memories that will live with me forever.
20/09/11 at 09:53:09 #8
Such a poetic piece, how lovely. Anfield has given such amazing memories to us as fans it's great that you were touched as well.

In your opinion... on great nights at Anfield, did tactics matter? You brought up the Arsenal match, it felt like we were carried away on a wave of emotion. I think in games like that both have a role to play.

Thank you I enjoyed this article
23/09/11 at 10:51:24 #9
Fantastic enjoyable reading! "This is Anfield".
25/09/11 at 03:19:30 #10
Xavi, Thank you for posting your memories of the countless European nights at Anfield. We certainly did enjoy some magical nights and I can't thank you enough for your contribution during those times.

I hope to one day see yourself and Rafa back at LFC!

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