Veteran Valencia midfielder David Albelda says Wednesday night's Champions League 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain, which saw the French side progress to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate, was likely his last in the competition and a painful way to sign off.
Albelda, 35, who has spent his whole career to date at the club and played for Los Che in the 2001 and 2002 Champions League finals, hinted last month that he would either retire or move abroad at the end of the current season. After making his 51st appearance in the competition at Parc des Princes, the former Spanish international told Spanish TV station Canal Plus that he believed it would be his last in Europe.
"I believe this was my last Champions League game," Albelda said. "The memories are always good. I feel privileged to have been able to play for this club all my life. It has been really nice for me."
Valencia had much the better of the game against the big spending Ligue 1 outfit, who were missing suspended star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Ernesto Valverde's side took the lead on the night early in the second half with a thumping long-range strike from Brazilian attacker Jonas.
PSG capitalised on an error from the visitors' midfielder Dani Parejo to equalise soon afterwards through Ezequiel Lavezzi, and then relied on a solid defensive performance lead by Thiago Silva at centre-half and Blaise Matuidi in midfield to get the result which sealed their progression to the quarter-finals.
Albelda said his team's slack performance in losing the home leg 2-1 last month meant even a better showing in the return game had not been enough.
"[Playing well] is never a consolation," he said. "We are leaving a bit annoyed, because the level of PSG and Valencia is that of today, not of Mestalla. We knew it would be tough and we competed well. It is a pity as we were the better team."
The memory of the first leg still stung, Albelda admitted.
"It hurts remembering the first game, even more when you see we can play like this," he said. "When you have a bad day in the Champions League, you pay for it. It was not easy to make chances tonight when they had so many players back."