Rivaldo celebrates his historic game-winning goal against Valencia at Camp Nou in the final game of the 2000/01 season. / MIGUEL RUIZ

It is a rare occasion when a Barça–Valencia match doesn’t stir lots of emotion. Recent decades have produced a mix of historic moments and unforgettable figures. Let’s take a look at the five duels that most stand out.

1996/97: Ronaldo’s hat-trick in a 3–2 victory

It was the tenth match of the season when Sir Bobby Robson was the Barça skipper. Ronaldo had already burst on the scene as a rising star but that night he broke the scenery entirely, scoring a prodigious hat-trick, while looking every bit an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.

2000/01: Rivaldo’s historic bicycle kick in a 3-2 win

It was the last game of the season and the winner of this Barça–Valencia would get the fourth and final Champions League spot for the following season. With Barça in a must-win situation, the match was knotted at 2–2 in the 89th minute. It was then that Frank de Boer sent a hanger into the penalty area from midfield. Rivaldo settled it with his chest out in front of the goal and, in a moment of sheer surprise and ecstasy, sent a textbook bicycle kick into the net for a magical score.

2008/09: Thierry Henry’s hat-trick in a 4–0 shutout

On the road to their historic treble, Barça faced a league gauntlet of Sevilla, Valencia, Real Madrid, and Villarreal all in a row. In the Valencia match Henry was sublime. The Frenchman played perhaps his best match in a Barça shirt by scoring three beautiful goals.

2011/12: Messi bags four in a 5–1 rout

Leo Messi had already burned Valencia in 2009/10 with a sensational hat-trick. Two seasons later, Messi outdid himself, leading a Barça comeback—Piatti had put Valencia up early—with four unanswered goals. The fifth goal was the work of Xavi.

2014/15: Valencia make surprise comeback and win 3–2

Valencia’s last visit evokes sour memories for Barça fans, as the visitors grabbed the three points in an upset win at Camp Nou. Alexis scored the first goal for Barça, but goals from Parejo, Piatti, and Alcácer handed Barça a big setback in La Liga.

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