You might have heard about news of Victor Valdes‘ decision of not to renew hist contract when it expires at end of 2014 season. If you have missed that, it’s not your fault because football media was fancying on news of Guardiola’s appointment as Bayern Munich manager starting next season. On 18 Jan, valdes’ agent announced ‘irrevocable decision’ of not renewing his contact even with a refusal to sit for a meeting to discuss what club has to offer.
Task of finding a successor for Valdes is a job not easy becuase of their own philosophy on playing style. For all other top clubs, task of a goalkeeper is to make reflexive saves, but in Barcelona keeper has to act, not just react with saves. In Barca, keeper is considered as eleventh outfield player. Barcelona’s defense play high up pitch to keep the team’s shape to be faithful for their attacking philosophy. This add additional responsibility of covering vast amount of pitch by keeper. One on One situations are more frequent in Barca than any other clubs. Another factor is passing ability. In Barcelona, goalkeeper is integral in starting buildup of play with his passing skills. Hitting long ball is like a last resort. Valdes excelled in all theses characteristics, Barcelona coaches demanded. In past, Barcelona recruited some top custodians in the past, but most failed to fulfill demands Barcelona system asked for. Vitor Baia, Rustu Recber, late Robert Enke all are failed candidates for the job with Barcelona. Robert Enke once mentioned of keeping for Barcelona as the most difficult goalkeeping job in football and there are claims that his depression started due to failures at his times with Barca.
So why Valdes decided not to renew his contract? If we try to find reason behind players leaving Barcelona, it it mostly for first team opportunities or club didn’t want players service anymore for indiscipline, wage demands etc. But case of Valdes is odd if consider his first team opportunities. After all, who wants to leave behind a first team opportunity in the best team in the world? Reason mostly is for living in a new city, new culture and new style of play. As Guardiola reasoned when he finished his Barca career as a player in 2001 saying “we say ‘mes que un club‘ or ‘more than a club’, but I want to find if it’s true by exploring other clubs. Another reason could be a reunion with his former mentor Guardiola in Munich. Presence of Manuel Nuer as an established keeper in Munich is a roadblock for Valdes.
Then who can take most difficult goalkeeping job in football? There is rumors already linking Reina with Barcelona. Error’s by De Gea in Manchester strengthens rumors of his exit and return to Spain. The best solution will be Pepe Reina because he is a La Masia graduate, his understanding about working of club and his father Miguel Reina played for Barca from 1966 to 1973. Another wild rumor echoed in media is a swap of Casillas and Valdes which will not happen due to the hatred feel between their respective clubs.
Lets keep our fingers crossed till the official announcement comes from Valdes on his next destination and fromclub on the successor of Valdes.
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