Saturday September 25 was one of the most special days in Marcelino García Toral’s professional career. His return to Mestalla, two years after his departure from Valencia CF, was the setting for an unforgettable day.
During his stay, Marcelino led the club to win a Copa del Rey (in the Centennial year) and qualify for the UEFA Champions League, twice. He led a committed and ambitious group with which the Valencian fans fully identified themsleves with. The way in which he left the entity generated an even stronger bond of the fans with his figure. An affection that overflowed on the occasion of the visit of Athletic Club, the team that the Asturian coach now manages.
Before the clash, Marcelino received a moving ovation from the home crowd, which he reciprocated with more applause and gestures of affection directed at the Valencia supporters. His greeting with José Bordalás was the prelude to a disputed match that ended in a draw at one.
The final goal from Valencia prevented Athletic from taking the three points, but the disappointment was parked to give way to the gestures of affection with their former pupils. He hugged several Valencia players – such as Gabriel Paulista, Jaume Doménech, Gonçalo Guedes and Jasper Cillessen – and chatted animatedly with some of them.
Later, Marcelino used social networks to thank the love received at Mestalla.
Orgulloso del trabajo del equipo a pesar de que se nos escapara la victoria al final ante un gran rival. Muy agradecido a la afición de Mestalla por el cariño. Inolvidable pic.twitter.com/Saq66bvnmH— Marcelino Garcia Toral (@Marcelino) September 25, 2021
Athletic, for its part, wanted to join in the tribute through a beautiful video about the return of its coach to a city where he left a deep mark.
📽️ ZOOM I @ValenciaCF 🆚 #AthleticClub 🦁 Un día especial para nuestro entrenador, @Marcelino, en la visita a Mestalla, estadio que fue su casa.#ValenciaAthletic #AthleticClub 🦁 pic.twitter.com/dwBTyuzIL7— Athletic Club (@AthleticClub) September 26, 2021