Gracies Victor!

So it’s true. Yesterday the agents of Victor Valdes announced, and this morning the club confirmed, that Barcelona’s number one goalkeeper has made the “irrevocable” decision not to renew his contract, which expires in June 2014. Victor joined the club originally in 1992, at 10 years old. He left for 3 years when his family moved to Tenerife, then rejoined in 1995. Whichever of those you choose as his “starting date”, that’s a really long time to be at a single club. He has been with the first team since 2002, and the first-choice keeper since 2003. 10 years. In that time he has come in for a lot of both praise and criticism. Every mistake he has made has been front-page news in the sports press, and at times there have even been demands to replace him.

But whether you are a “fan” of Valdes or not, no one can deny that over the years he has proved himself a first-class goalkeeper and produced more than his share of brilliant saves:

Although at times he has also courted controversy:

Right now it is not clear whether FCB will try to sell Victor this summer or whether he will see out his contract until 2014. Amidst all this discussion of whether the club should “cash out” on Victor now or later, and how much for, one important factor has been overlooked. It is the player who will ultimately make that decision. Victor obviously has some plans for what he will do when he leaves Barça, and those plans may not include being sold to another top-level team just because they are the only ones who can afford his market price. He may want to get away from the pressure-cooker environment of playing for a big team. He may already have chosen what “different culture” he wants to experience and not be open to offers from teams in other leagues. Or he may already have an offer that he wants to take and insist the club let him go there or nowhere.

Or…here is a radical thought. He may actually have decided he has had enough of football. He has been living this life for a very long time, and he has never been entirely comfortable with the way a goalkeeper is psychologically isolated from the rest of the team. In his youth and early career, he struggled with depression and almost quit entirely at one point. There is a very nice little documentary detailing how he dealt with those feelings: What He Hated

Michele made a point about Valdes not seeming to have his head in the game on some occasions recently. Certainly with the arrival of his new son he must be thinking about spending more time with his family and travelling less. Perhaps he has just decided to stop now while he is at the top of his game and indulge himself in his other passions, which include windsurfing, motorcycles:


And even a spot of modeling:


He might even grow back his hair:


I’m sure when the time comes, the club will give him the send-off he deserves. Until then, whether it be this year or next, let us just thank Victor for his long years of service to the club, and wish him well in whatever happens next!

By blitzen

Canadian, cule, corporate wage slave. Came late to the beautiful game, but fell under FCB's spell in 2006 and never looked back.


  1. Nice one, blitzen.

    I too picked up on that “other culture” comment by Vilanova.

    Maybe he’s going to China, or Russia or the Middle East (US?) to make that last big pay packet. Good on him.

    GKs don’t often get the chance to make big money in their latter years. If he’s got the chance then he should go for it.

  2. Good piece.

    Sport is branding him an ungrateful traitor right now.

    He deserves better and I hope for all our sake that the Camp Nou won’t turn on him.

    1. This is the reason why I think we should replace Valdes this summer. Honestly, best case scenario would be to buy a youngish player and have Valdes play backup for the last season.

      I respect his decision, and would love to send him off a hero. There’s no reason to make this any harder than it has to be.

      But the reality is every face he makes, every minor mistake is going to be magnified and perseverated on by the press from now until the time he leaves. It’s best to minimize that time and get a fresh start.

    2. Yeah, well said.

      All said and done, this is a career and a buisness. Nothing personal, he’s given us loyal service, and despite me not being a huge fan I respect his contributions- he doesn’t owe the club anything really, as long as he keeps contributing upto the moment he isnt listed on the team sheet – I wish him well.

  3. Yeah, turning on him is exactly the wrong response. If anything, Sport should be drumming up a “Show Victor how much you love him” campaign in order to change his mind.

  4. I will never forget the day he made it big. The day he made his spot his own. Keeping the Galacticos at bay one save after the next, in one magical evening. That was the day our fortunes turned, our golden run started from that day

    By the time he’ll leave, he’d be our #1 for around 11 seasons. Been at the club for life. He has given a lot to the club for very little in return. Made crucial saves time and again in high pressure high stakes games like the Champions League final in Paris but got more than his share of stick for his mistakes instead. He doesn’t owe the club a renewal. I wish him well wherever he goes.

    He’ll be a big loss but I hope we find a quality replacement. In fact we’ll have to find a backup keeper to replace Pinto (Casillas anyone? :twisted:) who would be leaving by that too.

    And before we get all judgmental about VV leaving us so abruptly, let me remind us all that we support FC Barcelona, known for kicking players to the curb once they cease to remain useful. That list includes Pep, who showed that one could leave before being forced out. I think people are beginning to understand that they could do so as well. All we can do is thank them for all the years of effort they put in for the club..

    1. Wow. Does 5 million euro per year seem little to you?

      I also think that THIS FC Barcelona has shown itself very loyal to its players.

      The extension they just gave to Puyol is a good example. How they treated Abidal would be another one.

      I don’t see any reason to villify Victor Valdes, but the timing of this announcement stinks. He should have waited until the summer.

    2. How is that relevant to what I said?

      THIS FC Barcelona gave Chygrinskiy the boot for one mistake. And then suffered a shortage of CBs.

      We’d have no problem giving Puyol an extension as long as he wants it. Abidal’s case is different.

      He was honest. He doesn’t want anyone to be under the impression that he wishes to continue. The club has gotten more time to secure the services of another player. What’s wrong with that?

      Who’s left? The fans? After the way we treated him when he made a mistake or two? Gimme a break..

    3. Which part is not relevant?

      I disagree with some of the things you said and gave you examples why I feel that way.

      Also I think to extend aging players’ contracts that would have them retire at FC Barcelona shows a lot of class and loyalty. Who knows how long Puyol’s body will hold up?

      Chiggy was a highly paid professional who didn’t cut it at Barcelona. Are you suggesting we should never try to sell a player we feel has no place in the team? Also a player has to agree to be sold. We cannot ‘kick them to the curb’ even if we wanted to. You make it sound as if we throw people on the street and threaten their very livelyhood. Simply not the case.

      I have no problem with Valdes not wanting to renew, whatever the reason might be. It’s his right. But by insisting on that information to be made public now he is causing instability throughout the club and our entorno in the middle of the season. That’s what is wrong.

      Of course he has given us a lot, but he is literally getting millions of euros in return. More than a little.

      I will still support VV while at Barça and probably wish him the best when he leaves. Does not change how I feel about the what he just did.

      It is of course your right to disagree with me! I’m off to bed, have a good one Vj 🙂

    4. Making the info public is causing instability? BS. Imagine if he just didn’t renew for the next year and a half and then left on a free. We’d have a year and a half of Valdes contract negotiation stories (as we’ve already had leading up to this announcement) and people would be ripping him for destabilizing the team.

      Can’t have it both ways.

    5. I think you’re being more than a little idealistic.

      I mean, sure, having players see their careers out does show class and loyalty, but only to a point. Puyol has been given his contract extension because he feels (and either the club feels, the club is prepared to take his word on it, or both) that he can keep playing at a high level until it runs out. He wouldn’t have gotten that extension because of “class and loyalty” alone. This is a professional team. There’s only room for so much sentimentality.

      I’d also argue that “THIS” Barcelona certainly does kick players to the curb when it suits their purposes, and s. Are the players sold because the club feels they no longer have a place on the team? Yes. That, along with club finances and the player wanting to leave, are the only reasons a club ever sells a player. And “THIS” Barcelona, much as I love them, have done it. Have they threatened a player’s livelihood? No. I also don’t see how Vj implied that. But they have pushed players out, and not just newbies who didn’t work out. Ronaldinho, Deco, Eto’o, and Bojan all spring to mind.

      Were there reasons to get rid of them? Yes, though I think letting Eto’o go was probably a mistake. The club still pushed out players who had been with the club for a substantial period of time and had been important in winning some major trophies because they felt those players were no longer useful. That’s not a terrible thing – this is a sports team, and its job is to win, not keep players around indefinitely. It’s still true.

    6. njwv, of course it’s causing instability. I can’t imagine everyone in the team will be pleased with the way he’s gone about this. In fact I think it’s quite unprofessional.

      Whether ‘this’ or ‘that’ Barcelona ‘kicks players to the curb’ is kind of irrelevant, since this isn’t really about being kicked/kicking to any curb. It’s about Victor Valdes’ agents announcing his irrevocable decision to not renew 4 months before the season is over, despite the insistence of the Barcelona management and some of his colleagues. Pep waited until the season was practically over and Valdes should have done the same.

    7. Whoa. Txigrinski check. He was a player who showed promise who RoSELL sold right out from under Guardiola, against the coach’s wishes.

      But Txigrinski is another example, like Hleb, of cule legend making someone worse than they in fact were.

    8. I meant how salaries were relevant to my comment, not what you argued 🙂

      I think SidonieM10 and njwv have clarified about player treatment and instability far better than me.

      I don’t think salary is the best indicator of how well a player is being treated. If it were, I dont think he’d have left.

      I don’t think he did anything bad, once I thought over his decision in the cold light of day, but that’s my opinion. Feel free to disagree! 🙂

  5. Away from VV for the moment. Rumor has It Pep will take Luis Enrique with him to Bayern. Smart move!

  6. He’s been great for us, and if he’s ready to move on, that’s perfectly fair. I wish him all the best, provided he doesn’t go to Chelsea or Real Madrid.

  7. Maybe am obsessed with the la masia top to bottom selection. Is anyone from the lower ranks who the club can call upon, even as a back up goalie?

    1. Oier has been regularly called up as a reserve for Pinto in CdR games, but I don’t feel that he is at a high enough level or consistent enough to be relied on regularly. Masip is in excellent form at the moment, but again I have doubts about him as a long-term option.

  8. I know how hard it’d have been to take such a decision against all odds, to decide to leave a club that you’ve been worshiping since your memory existed. Whatever be The Reason behind it, it’ll surely be a very unavoidable one. It was very easy for him to renew an advanced contract worth €10m/year, the very obvious thing to do. But he didn’t…

    You’re doing what you think will make you happy. I really hope you don’t regret with this decision but be happy as ever, in your next (?) paradise!

    Gracies Víctor!

  9. It’s taken me while to watch the Malaga game and I thought (from reading here) that Alexis missed two gimmes. That was far from the case. He has to stretch to reach both chances, and that is always difficult when you’re trying to put the ball in the back of the net. Seems a different standard is being applied to me.

  10. It’s a pity that VV won’t retire at Barca 🙁 I really like the guy and I think he’s a better keeper than a lot of people(mostly haters) give him credit for. Hope the guys can give him a wonderful farewell and win him the treble this season. Kinda sad to see the dream team start to breakup. *sniff* It’d be weird seeing anther goalie I his place.

    OT: its there any liveblog today or, are we saving it for Thursday when emotions run high? 🙂

    1. Double wow. If true the kudos to Valdes for not just being all about the money – unless the ‘new culture’ does turn out to be Russia/China! :p

    2. Apparently, VV’s decision was relayed by his management to the Barca management in the room BEFORE any financial offers were tabled.

      This means that either:
      ~ the club has made up this figure to make it look good after the fact, or
      ~ VV just walked away from a good deal.

      But his choice has been made.

  11. I highly respect VV since the days everyone wanted him out.
    Always thought he was , even back then, and still is, the best keeper for us that there can be.

    I will never though support a player who wants out.

    Going to a meeting and announcing irrevocable decisions , before hearing anybody out, and then announcing that decision mid – season against the club AND players wishes ?
    No thanks .

    Get the fuck out as soon as possible , way before your contract runs out. We should cash in on him on August , and that’s because we ‘d be able to sell at a better price then rather than now.
    Along with his terrible stance and timing he picked , he has also hindered considerably our position to sell, sadly.

    1. Agree with some of your points but somehow i feel that “get the f out” is not the right way to express it.

      I always admired valdes. He may have been clumsy and not been the best but he served us well. got us out of trouble more times than got us into trouble. He stood upto Mou, saved our bacon in CL 06 and most importantly mentored iniesta when he was homesick early in his la masia career.

      Poor timing. That is all. nobody announces not renewing a contract 18 months before it runs out. 6 months or 12 months is usually the right time so that player can have farewell leg or let the club find replacement in transfer season at beginning of year. 18 month is neither here nor there. I feel he will move out by end of this season. Ter Stegen is the preferred choice for me over courtouis.

    2. It is not poor timing , or just an accident that happened suddenly.
      It is a well thought decision , that’s what bugs me above all.

      Valdes has been a professional for so many years , won all trophies one can win and has a team that consults him on his business decisions.
      Remember the prolonged discussions for his last contract renewal, when he bargained for, and got, deservedly , a big salary?
      This is not a whim.
      Have he waited and announced a non renewal , or a transfer at the end of the season i would bid him , and i guess most cules farewell as a Barcelona legend.

      He has decided to hurt the club midseason , hinder our position on selling an asset that is willing to leave and go against the clubs and players wished to make this public.
      He may have been under the microscope and out of favor several times in his barca career but the matter of fact is that the club stood by him. You don’t do such things against the club that nurtured you ,made you a professional and handed you huge amounts of money and fame.

  12. Had VV made his decision known to the club earlier, they wouldn’t have snubbed Lloris. He would’ve been great for the future.

  13. This is a strange one for me ( and I say that as a real supporter of VV). If it was about money you would at least listen to offers from Barca and try to get them to up the offer. If it was about a change of scene and you had no hard feelings with the club you’d probably go along with their wishes and keep it quiet at least till the end of the season as we’re not going to let him go till then .

    We’re left with anger on his part at the club / fans? and wanting to get back at them for what? Unfair criticism as he sees it ? Is he possibly looking to force our hand earlier?

    Or is it much simpler than that and that mentally he’s had as much of this goalkeeping lark as is good for his health and he has another career lined up? With a young family he can’t just be looking to retire entirely.

    Whatever, he has been great for us and I share the feeling of sadness that our great group is starting to break up. However, I’m struggling to back his going public on it.

    You know, despite his lack of VV’s distribution skills the thought of Iker as a short term replacement has a real appeal for all sorts of reasons

    1. Aha, just had a look at TotalBarca’s take on it. Hadn’t heard about the recent poll of Barca fans where they overwhelmingly backed Casillas over VV for keeping goal for Barca (70%) ?

      If that’s right, no wonder he’s hacked off …

  14. I find it incredible that VV would get anything but love & admiration for his service to FCB throughout the years. He has been as instrumental in winning as many trophies as Puyol and Xavi. If Xavi would’ve decided to leave a couple of years ago when the rumors were flying would he have felt a backlash? I highly doubt it. His decision would’ve been respected and then the love fest would’ve ensued. VV has every right to decide when and where he wants to bring his Barca career to an end. He’s EARNED it. I find it strange when a player decides to leave a club he’s served for years it’s a betrayal, yet when a club decides “you” no longer fit the needs of the club, it’s taken with a cavalier attitude. VV may be ready to hang it up. He has the capability of endeavoring in whatever suits his fancy. All I can say is Gracias VV! Your years of service have filled me with joy and pride!

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