Speaking sincerely on the Barça TV program 'Estació Camp Nou', Victor Valdés acknowledged that the fans demands have made him "a stronger player in every sense."
Maximum support for Pinto
On April 20th, Valdés already knows that he’ll be on the bench for the Spanish Cup Final
against Real Madrid, in Valencia. He did that two years ago at the same ground, against Athletic
Bilbao. This time, however, he’ll suffer more: "Against Bilbao it was special because it was
against a rival that I like a lot, but Against Madrid I’ll suffer a lot more. As always,
I’ll try to help as much as I can from the bench, and I’m convinced that Pinto will do
just fine. He has the team’s and the manager’s confidence. He deserves to be in goal
and will do really well”.
Being the club’s goalkeeper is not easy, and it’s a position subject to a lot of
criticism. At 29, Victor Valdes can speak from maturity and experience gained over the eight years
he’s been connected to the first team. He’s had good times and bad, and above all in
the 2005/06 season, with Frank Rijkaard in charge, Valdés had his worst moments between the posts:
"Nobody likes to be whistled at, even less so on your own ground. The whistles were for things that
I didn’t do well, and over the years you realize that it’s fairly normal. If I had to
thank the fans for anything, who’ve been pretty demanding with me, is that they’ve
helped me to become a stronger player in every sense. They’ve made me a better goalkeeper
over the years due to the pressure they’ve put me under”.
Juan Carlos Unzue, former Barça goalkeeping coach, taught him to learn from the criticism.
With Unzue, he had to go over the mistakes: "The truth is that I didn’t really like doing it.
I used to be a person who didn’t take criticism very well, but now I try to see the positive
Before and after Paris 2006
When he heard the whistles in the Camp Nou, however, he didn’t
realise yet that that year would finish with his best night: Paris, 2006. "It was the perfect
match, for me. There is a before and an after in my career following that night. There had been a
lot of talk during the year. I’d taken a lot of stick, and I couldn’t have asked for a
better end to the season. It was also a way to thank Frank for the confidence he’d shown in
With Frank Rijkaard, Valdés almost had a father and son relationship, "Frank was like a
father to me, and helped me a lot through difficult moments in my career. He was one of the few
people that gave me confidence. He used to say ‘stay calm, I'm here for you’.
I’ll be grateful to him for the rest of my life”.
With Guardiola “it’s like going to school every day"
Valdés is now at his peak. He’s now the fourth goalie in the
history of the Club who’s played more games in a Barça shirt, and has three best goalkeeper
trophies, only beaten by the legendary Ramallets. Despite his experience, the Barça keeper is
learning every day, especially now under Pep Guardiola: "From the time he arrived, the first
concept we worked on was playing the ball out of defence with the central defenders going wide.
This had an impact on me. I’ve learned a lot, and consider him a football maestro, and
he’s taught me to live the game differently, learning more all the time. It's like going to
school every day! I’m learning day to day with him”.
What’s Victor Valdes like?
Valdez goes onto the field looking serious, concentrated, and chewing gum. He takes
his place between the posts and doesn’t miss anything going on in the game. But off the
field, is it different? "In my case, I’ve created an image which is not really me. When you
get to know me, it all changes. I’m a fairly quiet person, a family man, loyal to the people
I trust, and there aren’t many of them. I’m a hard worker, disciplined, and a bit
This is a small part of Victor Valdes, but there’s still a lot to
discover. What were Victor’s early years in the Academy like? When and why was he about to
give up his career as a goalkeeper? Where are his gloves from Paris? What advice would he give to
future goalkeepers? The answers to all these questions can be found on the program 'Estació Camp
Nou' on Barça TV, which premieres this Friday at 23.00. The interview will also be broadcast on
Sunday at 17.00.and 23.40.