The construction of the new Valencia CF compound has been shut down since 2009 and the explosion of the Spanish housing bubble.
" What is that ? There is a Colosseum here? " When, in his taxi, he finds himself passing through the Beniferri roundabout in Valencia, Javier Martinez Gimenez does not know what to answer to the tourists' questions. Because the gray concrete colossus that imposes itself on the view does not go back to antiquity. For the last ten years, the Nou Mestalla stadium has been taking dust, waiting for its carcass, left bare, to be completed..
"This stage is the bad sheep of Valencia", asserts the driver, who is also a supporter of Valencia CF. It is especially a reminder of the madness of grandeur that seized his football club, which Lille receives, Tuesday, November 5, in the Champions League. In 2006, when Juan Soler, president of Valencia CF, officially presented the project of this new enclosure, the city has already seen the emergence of the City of Arts and Sciences and a Formula 1 circuit over the past two decades.
With a capacity of 75,000 seats and in the heart of a complex also to host the club's headquarters and a museum to his glory, the Nou Mestalla was to turn Valencia into a new era. It was also to be financed by the sale of the original stadium site, valued at 360 million euros, nestled in the heart of the neighborhood of which it bears the name: Mestalla.
Had to, because the economic crisis has arrived, the Spanish real estate bubble exploded and, in February 2009, the project was shut down while waiting for better days. As Juan Soler, a real estate entrepreneur who dreamed of leaving his mark on the history of the club, he has just been sentenced by the courts to two years in prison for trying to kidnap his successor in order to obtain money.
"A love-hate relationship"
Ten years later, the only thing left is the incomplete fortress, a cluster of serrated concrete besieged by the wind, still surrounded by construction barriers. " This stadium is the emblem of the past ten years, analyzes the academic Josep Vicent Boira, specialist in the geography of Valencia. He embodies the development model "all by construction" of the city, which has shattered with the economic crisis. This is why Valencians have a love-hate relationship with him. "
The first thing Peter Lim did when he bought the Valencia club in 2014 was to go through his unfinished cathedral. For nearly an hour, the Singaporean self-made man paced the arena frozen by time, taking the measure of the task. «The Nou Mestalla will be completed for the centenary of the club», promised his lige man to Valencia, Layhoon Chan. Before being forced to withdraw – it is always impossible to sell the old Mestalla. In March, the Valencian club thus celebrated his 100 years in his venerable enclosure.
If the crisis of the summer, which saw the dismissal of coach Marcelino and much of the sport, coincided with the announcement of a possible release of the situation, the Valencians have trouble to believe it. "It's a shame to appease fans, sighs Javier Martinez Gimenez. Honestly, I do not believe it anymore; this stage will never be completed. Or for the bicentenary. "