Former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, whose contract expired at the end of June, failed his medical tests in Monaco yesterday. [catalunya radio]
Vasilyev, Vice President at Monaco, later released a statement: “Victor Valdes is injured and he won’t join us." [asm]
"This is the end of an era personally, but my departure and Valdes’ doesn’t mean the end of a cycle for Barça. I don’t think I need to tell the team anything because I know the captain’s armband is in the hands of good players - like Xavi and Andres - with experience and character. That’s why my job as captain has been easy. Because in this club, there are great people. I can’t think that there is another group like ours, and they have made my job so much easier and so much better. I came here as a boy, and I’m leaving with a family who I’m really proud of. They taught me so much. I’ve played with the best.” - Carles Puyol
We might’ve stumbled toward the end but that doesn’t take away how hard we fought for this league. Out of the 37 weeks played we were #1 during 23 weeks.
Winning the league does not change how terrible we were at times. But we were also good. I hope we win this league. For a split second I felt we might be undeserving of this title, afterall Atletico had fought so hard. If they win they will tell a beautiful story of winning against giants. Then I had to remind myself, we fought as well and we fought hard. We fought through our players injuries, Messi’s injury, VV’s injury, through all our defensive troubles, the Neymar scandal, a change of leadership, the transfer ban, and then the death of a friend. If we win, we will be worthy winners.
12 years. Thank you so much, Victor.
The time has come to say goodbye, goodbye to you all.
Unfortunately, I could not leave playing football as I would have liked, but that’s life sometimes and this year has been cruel to me in that regard.
I have had some time to review where I come from and what I’ve become. In my thoughts, there is only nostalgia for the people who have helped me get here. To them, I dedicate this letter.
To Oriol Tort, Jose Antonio Pozanco, Juan Manuel Asensi, Ursicinio Lopez, Albert Benaiges, Antonio Olmo, Juan Carlos Pérez Rojo, Pep Segura, Quique Costas, Joan Vila, Jordi Castel… The sports teachers who made me the athlete I always dreamed to be. The people who turned a ten year old boy into a goalkeeper who defended at the Camp Nou ten years later. Thank you all!
Thanks to Louis Van Gaal, for showing the courage to have bet on talent only by what his eyes saw. He began building a historic club of which I had the privilege to be part of. Heartfelt thanks.
Thanks to Frank Rijkaard, for giving me the confidence and allowing me the glory of playing the European Cup in Paris with my own hands. Wherever you are, my life will always be indebted to you, Mister.
Pep, thank you for having opened the door to play a game that I did not know, for being my guide in the way that one should keep looking for success… And we found it together, right? We will always have that Mister, and believe me, it will be eternal!
Thank you, Tito! Wherever you are, I thank you for teaching us the way to not only continue to win as a team, but also to have the strength and character needed to face life.
Thanks to all those colleagues with whom I have had the pleasure of sharing the work involved in carrying this crest on the chest every day, and for making me feel important within this group we have formed over the years. Because it comes down to it, we are us, here and now. Thank you, gentlemen!
And of course, I do not want to forget the most important people for me over the past twelve years as a professional wearing this shirt, my faithful supporters. Those that, whatever happened, were always there to give me the encouragement that a fighter needs at all times. You were there, proud of me in every celebration, supporting me in every game, and sending me that positive energy that I never stopped noticing, which carried me on wings all this time, because without that, I would not have been able to do it alone.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you. A thousand times. And I ask you please, do not stop giving me that support.
Força Barça, forever!
Víctor Valdés Arribas
Barcelona players wearing shirt in support of Valdes before the game
An epoch is defined every few months. As one Barcelona player puts it: “Madrid-Barça is the game of the century every time, even though there are four a year.”
On Sunday night the biggest rivals in world sport will meet for the 18th time in the past three-and-a-half years and in less than a month, they will meet in the final of the Copa del Rey, too.
Yet there’s still something about the clasico that feels definitive, at least until the next time. Like the frontier between one age and the next. Games may be forgotten, and in truth many are, but they can feel like they’re forever: few matches are treated as if they close cycles and end eras quite like this one.
This Sunday, that may actually be true. This really could be the end of an era. Not because this is a huge opportunity for Real Madrid to claim a seven-point lead at the top of the table, which would make it almost impossible for Barcelona to catch them — after all, Jose Mourinho claimed to have ended Barcelona’s hegemony by winning the league only to see it taken back again. Rather, because if the title does slip away (and Madrid are surely favourites), for some of the most emblematic players in Barcelona’s history, it will slip away for the last time.
On Sunday afternoon, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Víctor Valdes could well play their last ever game at the Santiago Bernabéu. Puyol is 35 and will be 36 next month. Xavi is 34 and Valdés is 32. At the end of the season Valdes will depart and so too will Puyol. Both have already announced their decisions to leave.