Rangel relishing Mestalla test
18th September 2013
Angel Rangel will tick another box in his career if he features in Swansea City's Europa League clash with Valencia.
Michael Laudrup's side head to the Mestalla Stadium for their first game of the Group Stage on Thursday evening (6pm GMT).
And for Rangel, who left his homeland in 2007 to join a Swans side in the third tier of English football, it gives him the opportunity to test himself against top-flight Spanish opposition for the first time in a competitive game.
The 30-year-old had featured in the lower leagues in Spain prior to his switch to South Wales after joining for a small fee from Segunda B Club Terrassa.
And now, after years of waiting, he is relishing the opportunity of going head-to-head with top Spanish opposition in a competitive fixture.
"I've never played in the top level in Spain, so obviously this is my chance," Rangel said.
"To play against a top team like Valencia at the Mestalla is something I am really looking forward to. I've not been to the stadium before, although I've watched numerous games there on the television.
"I've always wondered what it would be like to play at the top stadiums in Spain, and now I could experience it.
"It will be a very tough place to play - the fans will make a lot of noise and the stadium is very steep so it will feel like the supporters will be on top of us.
"But since we have been in the Premier League we have played at some massive stadiums with some great atmospheres, so that will help.
"This is a very exciting time for the players, the coaches and particularly the supporters who have followed the club through both the good and bad times.
"We are in the Europa League Group Stages playing against Valencia - that just shows how far we have come in a short space of time."
Aside from Valencia, the Swans also face Russian side Kuban Krasnodar and St Gallen of Switzerland in Group A.
The campaign, though, kicks off with the tricky trip to Valencia, although Rangel feels it could offer the Swans a platform to really start in style.
"We have been given what is seen as the toughest game to start with, but it's something we are looking forward to," said the Spaniard.
"Valencia are the favourites in the group, but if we stick to the way we play and do that well, then we always have a chance against teams.
"They had a bad result on the weekend (losing 3-1 to Real Betis) while we had a good point against Liverpool. Hopefully that will give us confidence going into this game."