Valencia’s visit to Stamford Bridge in the UEFA Champions League this evening is their first in almost eight years.
However, for our academy contingent looking to make their first appearances in the senior competition, a meeting with the Spaniards stirs some more recent memories.
Football has a funny way of throwing up occasional quirks and the prospect of Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham all making their Champions League debuts on the same night at the Bridge is enough in itself to warm the cockles.
The trio all signed registration forms at the Chelsea Academy at the age of eight, Mount 12 months after Tomori and Abraham, and all three have grown up playing together at our Cobham training base. Their fledgling careers have been inextricably intertwined, with all three scoring in the 2016 FA Youth Cup final to secure a third straight triumph.
As they approach a first foray into a competition they’ve grown up watching, the identity of the opposition will take minds back to February 2016, when Valencia visited Cobham for a match against our Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League.
Tomori started at centre-back in a four-man defence, Abraham led the line up front having netted seven goals in five group games, while Mount was a late substitute as Adi Viveash’s youngsters vied for a place in the quarter-finals.
Three other starters would go on to play for the Blues at senior level – try our quiz below if you think you know the answers. We'll give you their position, you just have to provide the player's surname.
While the game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes, the contest is probably best remembered for a controversial penalty shootout. Valencia were left fuming after their first spot-kick was ruled as a miss despite having clearly crossed the line and rebounded back off the bottom stanchion next to the post.
Regardless, the Blues were flawless from 12 yards, with Mount and Abraham among those to successfully convert, and triumphed 5-3 on penalties. We went on to beat Ajax, another of our 2019/20 group-stage opponents, in the last-eight before victories over Anderlecht and Paris Saint-Germain saw us retain the European crown.
Coincidentally, on the last two occasions our senior side faced Valencia in the Champions League (2007/08 and 2011/12), we also reached the final...