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FIVE years ago, Gary Neville’s managerial career ended before it had ever really begun.
The Manchester United legend had talked the talk as a pundit on Sky Sports, impressing figures in football with his level of analysis.
Gary Neville tried to field a defensive minded side against Barcelona
The Englishman, 46, was humiliated by BarcelonaCredit: EPA
So when he was awarded the chance to take charge of Valencia by pal Peter Lim in December 2015, it seemed an intriguing proposition.
What followed, however, was a disaster, as the basket case LaLiga side started to come apart at the seams.
Predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo had resigned following internal tensions, despite having secured a place in the top four the season before.
But Neville, 46, wouldn’t have anything like that success – failing to win any of his first NINE LaLiga matches in charge.
And his tenure would would reach its lowest ebb in February 2016, when his side were trounced 7-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg – with Lionel Messi bagging a hat-trick and Luis Suarez netting four as Luis Enrique’s side ran riot.
Neville would be sacked the following month, eventually returning to Sky and taking a hands-on approach to his ownership of Salford City.
But whatever happened to those that were out on the pitch that sorry night? SunSport takes a look, five years on from Neville’s departure.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were allowed to run riot on the nightCredit: AFP
Brothers Gary and Phil had a difficult time at ValenciaCredit: AP:Associated Press
The stopper wasn’t really first choice at Mestalla, but found himself thrown in due to regular No1 Diego Alves’ woes that season.
Ryan, 28, would go on to sign for Genk on loan before joining the Seagulls in 2017, for whom he enjoyed moderate success until being ousted by Robert Sanchez this season – subsequently penning a temporary deal with the Gunners in January to deputise for Bernd Leno.
Mat Ryan now turns out for Arsenal as back-up to Bernd LenoCredit: AFP
Full-back Antonio Barragan had been at Valencia since 2011, but was on his last legs at Mestalla by the time Neville arrived.
In and out of the team, the Spaniard found himself sharing duties with up and coming star Joao Cancelo (more on him later).
Just a few months after this horror show he joined Middlesbrough, suffering relegation in his first season before spending two years at Real Betis and joining Elche last summer, where he currently turns out aged 33.
Antonio Barragan was relegated with Middlesbrough in 2017Credit: PA:Press Association
Imposing 6ft 4in centre-back Aderllan Santos joined Valencia from Braga for £8.1million the previous summer, but failed to make a positive impact in Spain.
The bumbling Brazilian was bamboozled time and time again by Suarez and Messi, and would only play 15 times for Valencia the following season before being shipped out.
After loans at Sao Paulo and Vitoria, Santos moved east to join Al-Ahli in Saudi Arabia, but at 31 he has since returned to Europe, now playing for Rio Ave in Portugal.
Aderllan Santos was ripped to pieces by fellow South American Luis SuarezCredit: Reuters
Shkodran Mustafi endured the sort of horror show that Arsenal fans would come to know when he joined the Gunners just a few months later.
The German clumsily conceded a penalty on the night for a late challenge that also saw him red carded – but he still commanded a hefty £35million fee from North London.
Mustafi, 28, would make 151 error-strewn appearances for the Gunners, before joining hapless Schalke in January, with whom he has yet to win a game in six outings.
Shkodran Mustafi was sent off on the stroke of half-timeCredit: EPA
Homegrown star Jose Gaya is the lone survivor of this match within the current Valencia team, and has also won 13 Spain caps.
The talented left-back was one of the few players not up for grabs during last summer’s fire-sale, as Los Che desperately sought out funds having got themselves into a financial mess.
Gaya, 25, now captains the club, who sit 12th in LaLiga under former Watford boss Javi Gracia.
Jose Gaya now skippers his boyhood clubCredit: Rex
Normally considered a right-back, then-21-year-old Joao Cancelo was deployed at right midfield as Neville attempted to shut up shop against his side’s esteemed opponents.
While this was a night to forget for the Portuguese, he has gone on to forge a fantastic career for himself.
Following a loan spell at Inter Milan, he joined Juventus for £35million in 2018, before earning a stunning £60m switch to Manchester City, for whom he now stars and looks set to win a Premier League title with.
Joao Cancelo has gone to great things at Man CityCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
Young midfielder Danilo was included against Barca to add some steel to the midfield alongside players with a little more guile.
The Brazilian was on loan at Valencia at the time, and didn’t win a permanent move following his underwhelming spell.
After brief, unsuccessful stints at Benfica and Standard Liege he moved to Nice in 2018, for whom he has played for 49 times, before being loaned back to his homeland with Palmeiras earlier this year.
Danilo Barbosa has played 49 times for NiceCredit: AFP
Former QPR loanee Dani Parejo was a colossus for Valencia during his nine years with the club.
It would end in tears, quite literally, in 2020, however, when Parejo was forced to move to rivals Villarreal during Lim’s fire sale.
Parejo, 31, was moved to tears when he explained talking through the move with his son, who had only known Valencia during his young life.
Dani Parejo now plays for bitter rivals VillarrealCredit: Rex
This match wasn’t such a disaster for Andre Gomes, as he earned a move to Barcelona the following summer.
The elegant Portuguese midfielder struggled to adapt to life at such a big club, however, failing to impress during his 78 appearances for the club.
After managing to pick up a LaLiga title and, ironically, two Copa del Reys, Gomes moved to Everton in 2018, where he still plays aged 27.
Andre Gomes signed for Barcelona just five months after being humiliated by themCredit: Reuters
Like Cancelo, Siqueira was a full-back drafted in to play further forward as Neville tried and failed to shore up his side defensively.
The 34-year-old harbours no ill will towards his former manager, however, telling The Mirror that Neville was ‘like a friend and father’ and that he’d ‘love to give him a big hug’.
Siqueira, 34, would stay on loan at Valencia from Atletico Madrid until the end of the 2016-17 season, retiring a year later after failing to find a new club.
Guilherme Siqueira, centre, had previously played for Atletico MadridCredit: AFP
In possibly Valencia’s only bright moment of that night, Rodrigo put the ball in the back of the net – only to be denied by the linesman’s flag.
The skilful forward has gone from strength to strength since, earning 25 Spain caps and scoring eight goals for his country in the process.
Now aged 30 he turns out for Leeds United, after joining Marcelo Bielsa’s men from Valencia last summer for around £27m.
Rodrigo, 30, now plays for Leeds UnitedCredit: Getty
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