The unexpected goalkeeper

Francisco Farinos SCROLL TO READ STORIA N.4 / 110

On March 21st 2002, Inter played one of the most incredible matches in their history, winning away against Valencia and progressing through to the UEFA Cup semi-finals thanks to a goal from Nicola Ventola. However, the symbolic image from that magic night was not a celebration, a goal or an embrace, but instead the fiery glance from Francisco Farinos, as he donned the enormous shirt of Francesco Toldo to defend the Nerazzurri goal all by himself.

It is an intriguing story of two parts, one being that Francisco Farinos did in fact grow up in the Valencia youth ranks. He was highly rated by Claudio Ranieri, as he went onto to win the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de España, while he also helped Hector Cuper’s side reach the Paris Champions League final in 2000, eventually losing out to Real Madrid. From that moment on Farinos became an object of desire for many teams, with Inter eventually securing his signature for 36 billion lira.

No one stepped forward, so I went to Cuper and told him: “I’ll handle it".

His Nerazzurri adventure began in explosive fashion with a goal against Lazio in the Supercoppa Italiana final, but his relationship with the Nerazzurri never really seemed to take off. However, it was precisely that night against Valencia that made Farinos an idol among Nerazzurri supporters, at least for one night anyway. Against his old team, the diminutive Spaniard took control of the situation after Toldo was sent off in the 89th minute, wearing this massive jersey and defending his team’s 1-0 lead to keep his team’s hopes of winning the UEFA Cup still firmly alive. They were six minutes of passion, of grit and more or less improvised saves. Scenes of celebration soon followed the six minutes that contributed to one of the most epic encounters in history.

Francisco Farinos

Francisco Farinos (Valencia, 29th March 1978) made his debut with his hometown club Valencia at the age of 18, subsequently going onto win two trophies. He joined Inter back in 2000, where he then remained for three and a half years (49 appearances, two goals), split up by half a year spent with Villarreal during the 2002/03 campaign.