JOE Cole last night described the Mestalla Stadium as one of the most intimidating he played in during his 20 year professional career - and told the Celtic fans and players they will savour taking on Valencia there in the Europa League next year.

Brendan Rodgers yesterday recalled how Chelsea had beaten the Spanish giants in the 49,500-capacity arena in the Champions League during his time as a coach at Stamford Bridge after Cole and Didier Drogba both scored.

Cole can remember the 2007 encounter well and believes the Parkhead side and their supporters will enjoy themselves immensely when they travel there for the second leg of the last 32 double header in February.

“The Celtic fans and the players are in for a treat,” he said. “It’s a wonderful stadium with a really good atmosphere. We had some good success there at Chelsea and had some good wins against really good Valencia teams when they had the likes of David Silva and David Villa playing for them.

“The fans should take their binoculars! It is one of those stadiums that just seems to go up and up and up. I know there has been a bit of redevelopment there, but I am sure it is every bit as spectacular.

“Valencia is up there with any stadium and atmosphere I played in during my career. Valencia is a great, well-supported club. It is a sleeping giant of Spanish football

“It is a beautiful city as well. As a kid I nearly signed there. When I left West Ham my dad and my agent went out there. Valencia had just won the league twice in Spain. The deal was really close to being agreed. It was a wonderful place. The fans will have a great time out there.”

Meanwhile, former England midfielder Cole admitted not being able to play regularly under Celtic manager Rodgers during his time at Liverpool was one of the most frustrating spells of his playing career.

“Brendan saw me at the best in my career and the worst,” he said. “Unfortunately, I was injured and I couldn’t get my body right as often as I wanted to at Liverpool. But he also watched me at Chelsea. I think he knew what I was about as a footballer.

“It also wasn’t right financially. The club wanted to get me off the wage bill. It was disappointing. It was a shame for Brendan and it was frustrating for me. I couldn’t get to the levels I was at.

“I can’t complain with the career I have had. But if I was playing for Brendan in my prime it would have been a different story.”

Cole will be fit for the Star Sixes, a six-a-side tournament for legendary international footballers that is being held at the SSE Hydro next month, and is looking forward to making his debut for England. “This is the first time I have done anything like this,” he said. “It should be a great event.”

Star Sixes reunites the world’s greatest players in national team colours in six-a-side action. It will be held at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow, from January 4 to 6. Tickets from £20/£10 at