How Clubs Can Get the Best from Outgoing Barcelona Goalkeeper Victor Valdes

Alexandra Jonson@@AlexandraJonsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 19:  Victor Valdes of FC Barcelona looks on during the warm up prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Valladolid CF at Camp Nou on May 19, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Victor Valdes will leave the Camp Nou this summer after spending his entire football career at Barcelona. Even if it's still very much unclear which club the Catalan keeper will join, here are two valuable tips to his coming club on how to make him perform at his very best. 

In a documentary with Informe Robinson made in 2010, the Barcelona goalkeeper for the first time revealed that he for several years hated his job of being a goalkeeper. The same year, the keeper expressed in a interview with Barça TV that "Guardiola taught me to enjoy football."

That is also the key to getting the best of Victor Valdes: Make him enjoy it. 

Victor was 10 years old when he first arrived at Barcelona's famous football academy La Masia. 

But he would later leave, as his family had moved to Tenerife, and he missed them.  

However, he would come back a few years later. But in Informe Robinson, Victor called his years as goalkeeper in the youth teams a "special suffering."  

BARCELONA - MAY 4:  Victor Valdes of Barcelona organises his defence during the Spanish Primera Liga match between Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano held on May 4, 2003 at the Nou Camp, in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won the match 3-0. (Photo by Firo Foto/Gett
Firo Foto/Getty Images

He would arrive at Barca's first team at the age of 20 and would soon leave Rustu Recber, newly named best goalkeeper in the world, on the bench. He would then become an important feature in the team for years to come. 

But everyone didn't see it that way. Using his feet a lot, the young Barca keeper would come to make a few mistakes and was soon seen as an unreliable goalkeeper. For years he would have his critics, and even if Victor was good, it never seemed to be enough. 

However, Victor Valdes would become way better. 

That happened when Josep Guardiola arrived at the club in 2008. Still a secret that Victor didn't like being a goalkeeper, Guardiola noticed that something was off with his keeper. He soon realized that Valdes needed to feel more like one in the team than the outside goalkeeper. 

Pep made Victor an extra outfield player, more than he already was, and made sure the rest of the team saw him that way as well. 

For the very first time, Valdes truly enjoyed football as he explained in an interview with Barca TV. It would also give results, as he became better than ever before. 

Thus, point one on how to get the best out of Victor Valdes: Make him feel as one of the team and make sure he is enjoying the game. If he isn't, figure out why and fix it. 

Point two is more up to the fans of his future club. At Barca, Valdes has not always received support from all the fans. His mistakes that were mostly done while he was still very young have made a few question how good he is. For many Barca fans, Valdes was often seen as the team's weak link.

And even if Valdes might look quite tough, he is a pretty sensitive guy. Since he was a kid, one of the reasons he didn't like being a keeper was because he always got the blame for the goals and was left alone while his teammates celebrated their goals. 

He has always fought for recognition, to know that he is good enough, that all the "suffering" was worth it. At Barca, he has mostly gotten the blame. 

That was until recently. His success under Guardiola, followed by his decision not to stay at Barca, has gotten the fans to realize what they will miss. And Valdes' name has been chanted more than ever at Camp Nou this season. 

The result of that has shown us a Valdes playing on a fantastic level, and some argue he now is the best goalkeeper in the world. 

So here is point two for Valdes' new club: Make him feel important, but most of all, make him feel loved. 

To the new club Valdes joins—whether it be Monaco, Manchester City, Napoli or whoever it is—take note and follow these two points. Then his team will have a goalkeeper they couldn't even dream of. 


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