Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu is aiming for a successful return to the Mestalla when the Catalan giants travel to face Valencia on Sunday evening.
The France international enjoyed five seasons with Valencia, transitioning from an adept left-back into a solid central defender before transferring to the Nou Camp in the summer for a fee of €20 million.
The 31-year-old has settled into life at Barcelona well, featuring eight times in La Liga so far and helping the team to second in the table, five points behind rivals Real Madrid in top spot.
Mathieu’s old side Valencia (6.03 match winner) have also enjoyed a strong start to the season and currently lie fourth in the division, just four points shy of Barcelona
He admits that while Sunday’s game will be a special one, his focus will solely be on earning three points for his current side.
“It’s a special game for me but I won’t play any differently,” Mathieu told the club’s official website. “It’s always nice to play at Mestalla, I was there for many years.
“I don’t know how they will receive me – I believe I did myself justice there. Now I am 100 per cent focused on Barca. We have to pick up three points to keep up there against a rival who are right behind us. We are going to Valencia to take all three points.”
A win would see Barcelona move just two points behind current leaders Madrid, who defeated Malaga 2-1 on Saturday evening.