Some others yes, but Valdes no

That looks like my ball, Mr. Drogba.
That looks like my ball, Mr. Drogba.

The squad for Spain’s friendlies against Argentina and Austria over the coming week were announced and several Barça were included.

Casillas, Reina, Diego López; Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa, Iraola, Capdevila, Marchena, Albiol, Puyol, Piqué; Busi, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta; Silva, Pablo Hernández, Güiza, Negredo, Mata, Villa, Jesús Navas.

The Barça players that were included are Puyol, Piqué, Busi, Xavi, and Iniesta, but the obvious absence is Víctor Valdés. Really? Come on, now. I personally believe that Iker Casillas is the best keeper in the world, but what has Pepe Reina done this year to further cement his role as second choice keeper in friendlies? As I understand it, the third spot is kept for up-and-coming keepers, so why is Diego Lopez, who is older than Valdés, still given that spot?

After his most recent exploits against Webó (1:15) in Barça’s 4-2 win over Mallorca, what more proof can a national team manager require before calling someone up? His saves against Drogba in last year’s CL semis turned out to be par for the course rather than breaks from normalcy, though we all should have seen that coming, starting with his stonewalling of Drenthe in the Camp Nou clásico  months before.

Perhaps he has a defense that allows him to look good and yeah, he sometimes looks a little fishy coming off of his line during corners, but it’s not like he’s made any egregious errors this year. Others have, I know (1:25). Yet he sits at home while everyone else trundles off to international duty. Seems unfair and I, for one, am here to declare that Víctor Valdés should get called up to the national team.

Categorized as Thoughts

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.


  1. OT: The match against Cultural will be on ESPN Deportes and thus I assume it will also be on ESPN360, but I’m not positive about that. My cable box hasn’t updated the new lineup yet, but the official ESPN TV listings page lists the match a 4pmEST/1pmPST.

    Right now I have Jorge Ramos y su Banda listed on my box, but that should either change soon or if you’re going to DVR it, DVR that show instead of nothing.

  2. May be he’s being preserved for the World Cup 😉
    I wonder why is Llorente not called, he’s been scoring consistently in Europa and is the highest scorer of the cup, not so consistent in the league though!!

  3. Its amazing to see how Dunga ia maintaining a perfect balance in forming the squad, he’s as enthusiastic to give chances to the players still in Brazil as much as he wants to play them who are plying their trade in Europe… And more importantly he’s still getting the results(although I hate his tactics!) unlike the bloody Marajuana

    He spotted Ramires & Alex when still in Brazil… Gave Nilmar a second chance when still in Brazil. During qualifiers he brought many unknowns from Brazil. At the same time he’s giving chances to youngsters who are in Europe like Bastos, Hulk, Eduardo, etc. Impressing!

  4. This isn’t really related to the post but I found some cool videos on Youtube:
    Del Piero v Messi
    Real Madrid getting destroyed: XD
    Ibra v Madrid scrum:

    I personally rate Valdes over Reina and all the other Spanish keepers including Casillas. Top 5: Buffon, Cesar, Valdes, Frey and Schwarzer

  5. Maradona isn’t a coach. I also wonder if his use (abuse) of Messi isn’t linked to wanting to damage our chances, due to his time and departure from the club. I wouldn’t put it past him.

  6. Are you guys going to have a post about Cruiff and the Catalan national team, I think it’s worth mentioning in a Barca blog.

    1. It is, The Wall, and I’ve been trying to get my head around it. It’s his first coaching job in more than a decade, and one that has about zero stress even though it has high visibility.

      Because see, the Catalunya national side isn’t real. It is, and it has real players, but it isn’t in that it has no official status with FIFA or UEFA, kind of like Catalunya itself, an “autonomous region” with no real status beyond that.

      La Seleccio play matches, and have really cool kits, but at present, they have about as much chance of ever being in the World Cup as I do of flying to the moon tomorrow. I know, I know. Scotland and Ireland are to England as Catalunya is to Spain, they say. And I know how I feel about the matter, but the real question is how does FIFA, and what does the Cruijff selection really mean, except for even more reasons to attend Barca matches?

      Good question. Rest assured we’ll deal with it.

    2. He accepted this role mainly because there is no stress. He has heart problems which was one of the reasons he gave up on coaching. And may be the other way as well, coaching Barcelona caused him heart problems 😀

      I think for FIFA, this is a friendly game. Between a national team (whoever plays against the Catalan) and a team of Catalan Players.

      May be Valdes first international game will be for Catalunya!

    3. I recall the hooraw when the U.S. national side agreed to play Catalunya, back on ’07. The obvious cries were raised, of “It isn’t even a real country,” blah, blah, blah, and what did the match mean as regards the U.S. view on Catalan independence.

      The home kit is seriously slick, by the by. Just saying. 😀

    4. “I know, I know. Scotland and Ireland are to England as Catalunya is to Spain, they say”

      what you meant:

      “I know, I know. Scptland and Ireland are to THE UNITED KINGDOM as Catalunya is to Spain, they say.”


    5. i read catalunya has more autonomy than either one of scotland or ireland in the uk. and catalonia would have a higher gdp than either one of them too.

    6. Ireland has nothing to do with England, we are not part of the United Kingdom.
      Different culture, different religion, different history. England invaded Ireland, and the Irish fought them for hundreds and hundreds of years and got independence.

    7. I didn’t mean to sign in as “The Wall” I apologize, That’s my allias for I bash their articles).

      I didn’t know how their jersey’s looked like. I will ask Santa for one.

  7. HAHAHAHAH you what EE are saying now? that crynaldo’s career could be at risk if he plays for Portugal vs Bosnia hahahhaha that killing me hahaha

  8. YO!!! What ever happened to the awesome analyisis by Hector after each game with goal by goal breakdowns and videos???

    1. He’s probably just busy with work or something. He’ll be back I’m sure with crazy ass analysis. 😀

  9. I hate this, he obviously is worthy of a call-up. I think it’s either a political issue (valdes being catalan) or an issue of trying to balance how many barcelona and real madrid players are called up…i don’t know, there’s really no excuse for this.

    1. Haha! Yeah. I thought JE could’ve gotten a red card if only Drogba wasn’t such a douche bag, and that’s exactly what the ref was thinking.

    2. I was baying for JE’s blood, looking at that sick jib, even though the victim was DD. It was so mean, it made Maulaga’s tackles against us look amateurish. i wish JE gets some offline warning from FIFA or whoever. And as you said, he would have gotten sent off, had not the victim been Drama-Queen-II!

  10. I have a question that is barely related to footy but here it goes.

    What seems better for footy Plasma or LCD?

    I’m trying to buy a new set. I currently have a 32″ LCD 720p 60hz. And HD is just beautiful but I want to upgrade to something between a 46-52 inch that’s full 1080p. I know that ESPN and Fox only broadcast on 1080i or 720p but I still want to upgrade since Footy is not the only reason but a major one. At first I was not even hesitant it was going to be an LCD but the more I investigated the more the plasma appeals to me. So I was wondering if anyone that has had both types of sets has a preference for either one when it comes to footy.

    1. I have a 50″ LCD projecetion from Sony – 1080i. Footy looks awesome. If I were you I would go with an LCD, or wait until the laser TVs come down in price.


    2. Plasma. All day and all night. And you want as big as you can afford. I like 54″ as a good size. Plasma does motion better, and when you aren’t watching footy, plasma is a LOT better.

      LCD has improved immensely, but it still isn’t ready for prime time if you’re at all picky about what you watch. (Sorry, Alex ….)

      What you’d really want, if everybody weren’t as concerned with stuff that looked cute over performance, is a nice, 1080p rear-projection CRT set. Still the best blacks and, properly calibrated, the best image quality. And because it’s CRT, it doesn’t have to rely on tricks to deal with motion.

      If you have a cost-no-object worldview, find a Pioneer Elite Kuro plasma on closeout (Pio is exiting the business). If you are concerned with your hard-earned dosh, a Panasonic is 98% of the set for less than half the price.

      Laser and LED are good technologies that are still a few years away from serious consideration for picky video nerds.

    3. Thanks guys. Kxevin I wish I could ge the Kuro elite. But unfortunately I don’t crap out cash. 🙂 I was thinking of getting the Panny p50g10 for about 1.4k or the P50s1 for about 900 and upgrade my surround any advice on that? I heard that the ps1 is just as good as the g10 minus the THX certification and the Viera Cast.

    4. Yo, Tutomate, Amazon has the 50G10 for about $1250. The G10 is a nicer set than the S10. But if you want to save the bucks, you won’t miss much from the G to the S, I don’t care what any video nerd tells you. I’d go S and nicer sound. There is a gap from the S to the V series. For the $1400 you’re talking, you can find a 54″ G-series, or an S for somewhere between the two.

      The THX picture settings (from G to S) can be duplicated with careful tweaking, rather than the one-touch perfection of the models that carry it. CNET usually has nice places to start adjustments. Just stay far, far away from the AVS Forum. Trust me on that one.

      The other thing you might miss, if you’re really far gone, is that the S and G don’t do 24p, for that natural film playback pace. They extrapolate. Some say that they can see the dither as this happens. I think they’re just seeing shit, personally.

    5. After being bitchslapped and put in my place by Kxevin, I hesitate to respond, but I feel my audio knowledge exceeds my video knowledge by leaps and bounds. Go with Paradigm, it is a Canadian company that is subsidized by the Candian government to develop badass speakers. They are relatively affordable (especially if you find some used ones on craigslist). As far as a subwoofer goes…………. SVS all day and all night (I have also heard great things about there speakers as well): *

    6. Kxevin, do you mean stay away from the original “AVS Forum” or the AVS forum on CNET? If you referred to the original AVS forum, may I ask why?

    1. I think pep just didnt like the Henrique signing cause it was over his head and part of the “Traffic” partnership.Just a theory of course.But Alberto probably has a better chance.

  11. For those of you watching Liverpool-Birmingham…

    Does N’gog remind anyone of Eto’o? His running has been superb in this game, and look back at that goal. His first attempt was trademark Eto’o, not to mention the second for the goal.

    Tough luck for Liverpool though, that Jerome goal was just nasty. Kind of like “that” Henry goal for Arsenal against Man U.

    Hope for your sake, Corrine, that Gerrard doesn’t aggravate his injury again. I’d be interested in what you think of your manager at the moment.

    1. hooray for three day weekends! reina’s having just another manic monday. why he’s in the nt over valdes is beyond me. i don’t see too many similarities between he & eto’o minus the apostrophes in their names, but that left footed goal was the shit. gerrard comes in and liverpool concede. mascherano is having an ok game.

    2. n’gog just dove to get a penalty. he gets a yellow, not for simulation, but for fighting w/a birmingham player. gerrard converts it.

    3. What an awful dive, though from the TV angle it looked like a penalty until I saw the replays then saw what a chump I was for believing that crap.

    4. gerrard needs surgery but i think they’re putting it off because there is no way we can play on with him injured :S i’m more worried about torres possibly sitting out for a couple months because of his hernia problem. he’s been our match winner this season

      i haven’t been a fan of rafa since last season and i’ve been even more critical of him this year but there’s not a lot he can do. we don’t have the money to sack him and i think dropping him at this time would create even more internal problems. any manager would struggle with the amount of injuries we’ve had though, at one point last week, we had 10 players unavailable! usually after a few bad games you bounce back but liverpool have lacked confidence (rafa’s favourite word) all season. could he be losing the dressing room a bit? he’s not exactly the best motivator aha. but overall i’m more frustrated with players like dirk, babel and carra who have been completely off form

    5. Corrine, you’ve hit a key point. Liverpool’s problems are over-constrained (as an engineer would say). Lackluster manager, excessive injuries, and financial restraints. If even one of those constraints was loosened, they would have a chance of rebounding, but so far it looks like that’s not going to happen soon.

    6. Ahaha I totally skimmed by your eto’o n’gog comparison! You totally forgot to mention that n’gog has a terrible first touch too. but he still has time to mature :p

  12. i just think del bosque wants to experiment with the squad that’ll be going to the WC. even though pepe has been conceding goals because of liverpool’s poor form he’ll always be first choice back up. as for third… i don’t even know why they bother to call up a third keeper especially when there are so many talented strikers and midfielders to choose from!

    1. I don’t know why they bother calling anyone other than Casillas if they’re not gonna give the other keepers a chance to show their stuff.

      By regulation, the World Cup requires three keepers in every squad (a good rule in my opinion). Ok, then use this opportunity now (before the “team cohesion” friendlies really kick in next year) to look at the other keepers!

      Someone mentioned the political implications of calling up Valdes, but I don’t know about that. It sounds trite, but it might be an old understanding that it would be best to prevent a situation of having to explicitly choose between the Catalan Barcelona keeper and the Castillian Real Madrid keeper… a problem unique to the position as there can only be one keeper. Probably a nonsense hypothesis though.

      Again, I’m not saying relegate Casillas to second keeper. Overall, he’s probably the top GK in the world (and is the captain of Spain, after all). But having a sweeper keeper like Valdes in the bench could mean all the difference in the world for Spain in cases where Casillas is a) injured in-tournament, b) red carded or accumulates yellows, or c) simply needs to be rested in the World Cup’s congested schedule (say, a meaningless third group match).

      But I bet no one will read this post by now 😛

    2. oh, i completely forgot about the 3rd goalkeeper rule, thanks for reminding me. if they’re not gonna call valdes up, they could at least get a young player like asenjo on their squad. he’s set to become one of spain’s top keepers anyway, sending him to the world cup would give him a good taste for what’s to come. diego lopez adds nothing to the team aha

  13. Thanks Alex on the SS. Kxevin I was worried about that issue I know that both the S and the G do the 3:2 bit but I was wondering if I should stat away from that I guess it’s not as important as some make it out to be. Also your are right on about the THX, I heard it’s just an expensive certification that makes the set just cost more. I’m noob at this so I am pretty confused the reason I started looking at Plamas was because The people at BB recommended LCD. So I pretty much to the opposite of what they tell me. No offense Alex I know there are some damn good LCD sets out there. Buy I was watching a clip of transformers 2 at BB in a 2.7k Samsung LED set with 240hz 50″ and I just could not get the blur that optimus Prime would create around his edges when he moved. So I was like man if this 2,700$ set does this than what is the set I can afford going to do? So I read more and more about plasma and why they don’t look so appealing the the BBs of the world and so on so know with your advice I know That a plasma is rght for me. Specially since I watch tv in the evenings mostly and can control the light in the living room.

    The panny 50″ s1 was on sale this weekend at BB ($999)but I missed it. I’m willing to go for the G10 but if I can save some money and get the S1 and lose minimal quality then im willing to do that.

  14. Alex, I stay clear of the AVS Forum. There is more trash talk in that place than at a garbageman’s convention. It becomes to impossible to make a rational, informed decision if you go there seeking information.

    Plus, I already know what I want and like. Good call on Paradigm, by the by. Back when I was an audio gear reviewer, they were routinely the best speaker at their price point in most situations. Government subsidizing doesn’t hurt, to be sure. But you can give someone money, and they will still screw up. 😀

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