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Valencia Builds Statue in Seat of Late Fan Who Attended Every Match Even After Turning Blind

Valencia Builds Statue in Seat of Late Fan Who Attended Every Match Even After Turning Blind

Late Vicente Navarro Aparicio's bronze statue now occupies seat number 164, row 15 of Tribuna Central at Valencia CF's home Mestalla.

We have often heard that football is more than just a game and the bonds between fans and their clubs is eternal. One such bond is between Valencia CF and it's member No.18 Vicente Navarro Aparicio and it continues even after the latter's death.

Aparicio was a Valencia fan for life - so much that he even took his son to all the games, making him a part of his devotion to the club. He turned blind due to a detached retina about 40 years ago but that only got him closer to the club. He still attended every game at the Mestalla. Till his last breath, he cheered for Valencia CF, he felt Valencia CF.

In their Centenary year, Valencia decided to achknowledge that sentiment. Aparicio died two years ago but as Valencia completes 100 years of existence, his statue now sits at Mestalla and he will stay there as a permanent spectator.

"He had this date (centenary year) marked on his calender since 20 years ago. That's why I know how much he would have liked to have been in the centenary year. That's why I know, he's not going to miss it," Aparicio's son said in a video released by Valencia.

Seat number 164, row 15 of Tribuna Central - it belongs to Aparicio and it is the seat where the old man will forever sit and watch Valencia play.

WHAT'S HIS STORY?

Such was Aparicio's love for the club that he boasted of having fallen into the ditch of Mestalla - the stadium was sacred to him.

"I was just nine years old when he took me to the 1967 cup final, in which we beat Athletic (Bilbao). I don't even remember how many hours it took us to get there," his son narrated.

The 1967 Copa del Generalísimo final was held at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, 355.0 km away from Valencia.

Aparicio's son further said that after losing his vision, he said he would now only follow games at the Mestalla and he made it a point to do exactly that.

"He enjoyed the atmosphere and I would talk him through what was happening on the pitch."

Aparicio's son described 2004 as the happiest year of his father's life. Why so? Valencia won the double that year. Under manager Rafael Benitez, they won the La Liga and beat Marseille 2-0 to win the UEFA Cup.

Today, the bronze statue of his is situated comfortably in his home, Mestalla and Valencia said it was their way of paying homage to the love and dedication shown by their fans.

"Vicent represented valencianista's sentiment in its purest form. His statue is a tribute from Valencia CF to all those who brought us here," the club announced.

first published:June 04, 2019, 14:36 IST