On 14 February 2013, Valencia, emotionally linked to Levante U.D., woke up in turmoil. The agitation was justified by virtue of the match scheduled for 7pm at the Ciutat de València stadium. It was not a secondary duel. Nor was it a mere formality. Olympiacos, a historic side on the international football scene, was threatening the integrity of a Levante side that was strolling around Old Europe.

Orriols welcomed the round of 32 of the Europa League. Levante faced a major challenge on grass in the context of European competition on the day when the memory of Saint Valentine is honoured. The patron saint of lovers has its roots in the Roman Empire. St. Valentine defied a decree issued by Claudius II that forbade marriages between young people to proceed secretly with marriages.

The challenge for Juan Ignacio’s Levante was Homeric. Levante, a newcomer to Old Europe, were entering a world they were unaware of. Opposing them was the powerful image of Olympiacos, undisputed leader of the Greek League. Only one of the two rivals could survive. The group stage was behind them. Levante were not invincible, but their soul was unflappable. It was a squad with substance and with the character and skill to take on giants and Cyclops. Pedro Ríos, Barkero and Martins were the chosen ones for glory. Martins put to bed any lingering doubts in the return leg in Athens with an early goal (0-1).