31-year old Barca star Victor Valdes has announced he will not be extending his stay with the club when his contract expires.
Valdes has played keeper for Barcelona since 2002. Since then, the club has won La Liga 5 times and recorded a total of 3 Champions League titles.
With a total 689 goals saved for Barcelona since the 2005-2006 season, Valdes proved to be a vital factor on the pitch. He has done an exceptional job leading the club’s defenses, and I doubt Barcelona would have recorded all those titles without Victor Valdes guarding the goal.
Valdes has made it clear that he will not be retiring at Nou Camp, though. Now that he has officially declined a contract extension with Barca, Valdes will be a hot transfer target in the summer of 2014. With all his successes with the Catalan Giants, who wouldn’t wan’t the Spaniard playing on their squad?
In response to the news, Barcelona sports director Andoni Zubizeretta said:
“We let them know our interest in renewing his contract because he is a keeper of the highest level. Before we could put forward any proposals or speak about anything, his representative told us that the decision had been considered and taken, that he would not continue after June 30, 2014.”
“It’s an irrevocable decision.”
“Barcelona fans need to respect the professional decision of a player who has spent 12 years here. We are asking you to continue supporting him and to encourage him as much as you have done throughout his career.”
“He is committed to this jersey until June 30, 2014 and will defend the goal with everything he has. Meanwhile, we shall work together to see what the next steps should be, along with him and his agent, to work together to deal with this situation that arose yesterday.”
“It’s a shame he’ll leave because Victor is the ideal goalkeeper for Barca. It’s never a good moment for someone like him to leave.”
The situation won’t be a problem for the club until the goalkeeper’s contract expires at the end of next season, giving Barca plenty of time to find someone to replace Valdes.
Barcelona’s reserve goalkeeper, Jose Manuel Pinto, will be 38 years old by then, which means he will likely not be given the position considering they will want a younger, more dependent option.
Manchester United’s David de Gea and Chelsea reserve goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois are two such options that the club can pursue. But no matter who they go after, they will certainly find someone suitable for the position within the next 17 months.
In conclusion, Valdes has done a lot for Barcelona, who are currently leading La Liga, and he will certainly be missed. Hopefully his absence will not impact the team’s enormous success both at the domestic and international levels, but nevertheless, he will forever be remembered as one of the best goalkeepers to ever play for the club.