Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdés ruled out of World Cup with serious knee injury
Barcelona's veteran goalkeeper Victor Valdés has played his last game for the club and will miss the World Cup with Spain after suffering a serious knee injury against Celta Vigo
Victor Valdés’s 12-year career with Barcelona came to a cruel end on Wednesday night as he was ruled out for at least six months due to a serious knee injury sustained during his team’s 3-0 win over Celta Vigo.
The goalkeeper sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee and will require surgery, meaning he will miss the rest of what is his final season with his boyhood club, as well as preventing him from going to the World Cup with Spain.
The 32-year-old was seen crying as he was carried off on a stretcher in the 22nd minute of the match, landing awkwardly on his knee as he scrambled to gather a loose ball.
It is the second injury Valdés has suffered this season, missing six weeks of action after sustaining a calf injury in November.
Gerardo Martino, the Barcelona coach, cursed the team’s bad luck at losing one of the pillars of the dressing room as they entered the final phase of the season still fighting to win the league, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
“At this stage of the season I thought everything bad had already happened, but I was wrong,” said the coach, who has also had to cope with lengthy injuries to Lionel Messi and Neymar in his first season in charge of the Spanish champions, plus the announcement that stalwart defender Carles Puyol would also be leaving the club in the summer.
“This is a terrible blow but this team has got used to dealing with setbacks for a long time and we will keep going.”
Andrés Iniesta, one of Valdés’s closest friends in the Barcelona dressing room, added: “The game changed after Victor got injured. It’s a terrible piece of news. It’s very hard when something like this happens but we have to keep going with the same spirit we have always had.”
One of the club’s three captains along with Puyol and Xavi Hernández, Valdés first joined the Barcelona club’s academy when just 10 years old, turning professional in 2002 and beginning a glorious career which would see him lift countless trophies including six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues, won against Arsenal in 2006 and Manchester United in 2009 and 2011.
Barcelona’s second-choice goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto will stand in for the Spain international for the rest of the season, while Valdés’s injury means Manchester United’s David de Gea stands a good chance of making Vicente del Bosque’s World Cup squad alongside Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina.
The injury to their No 1 keeper tarnished an otherwise bright evening for Barcelona, who saw off Celta thanks to two goals by Neymar and one by Messi.
The Catalans moved second in the La Liga table behind leaders Atletico Madrid, while Real Madrid were beaten 2-1 at Sevilla. Barca remain one point adrift of Diego Simeone’s side, who beat Granada 1-0 at home thanks to a solitary goal by Diego Costa, but leapfrog Real just three days after beating their fierce rivals in a dramatic Clasico at the Bernabéu.