Even in these days when footballers tweet as though their lives depended on it, we rarely see a letter of thanks as heartfelt and detailed as that made public by the soon to be former goalkeeper of FC Barcelona, Victor Valdes.
In an open letter he pays tribute to those who have helped his career. He names names and outlines the help they gave him. And, of course, he thanks the supporters.
But this is not a glib PR exercise by a player. Not for him the childish tweeting offered up by Rio Ferdinand this week. A man who tried to make out leaving Manchester United was his decision. It wasn’t. The club decided to show Rio the door.
In Spain, Valdes has been criticised by some for deciding to leave Barça. But not by his colleagues.
Xavi, whose own future at Barcelona is under scrutiny, said today: “You must understand his decision, it is delicate time with his injury. We should respect Victor’s decision. He is the best goalkeeper in the history of the club.”
That injury, suffered late on in the current campaign, has brought a premature end to his career at Barcelona and he will miss the World Cup in Brazil.
Where next for Valdes? Time will tell but Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini might be interested. However, it’s Chelsea who arguably need a new, younger goalkeeper and Jose Mourinho knows only too well what Valdes is capable of.
“The time has come for me to say goodbye to you all .
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to say goodbye playing football, as I would have liked, but that’s life at times, and this year has been a bit cruel to me in this regard.
I’ve had time to look at where I am and what I’ve become. I can only think about the people who helped me to get where I am today. I dedicate this letter to them.
Oriol Tort, José Antonio Pozanco, Juan Manuel Asensi, Ursicinio López, Albert Benaiges, Antonio Olmo, Juan Carlos Pérez Rojo, Pep Segura, Quique Costas, Joan Vilà, Jordi Castel….. the coaches who made me into the athlete I always dreamed I would be. People who turned a ten year old kid into a goalkeeper at the Camp Nou, ten years later. Thank you all!.
Thank you to Louis Van Gaal, for showing the courage necessary to gamble on a talent that only he could see. He began building this historic Barça side, which I have been privileged to be part of. My heartfelt thanks
Thank you Frank Rijkaard, for giving me the confidence necessary, and allowing me to achieve glory, getting my hands on the European Cup in Paris. Wherever you are, I will be indebted to you for the rest of my life Mister.
Thank you Pep, for having opened the door to playing a game that was unknown to me, for guiding me along the road where one has to keep looking for success, and we did it together, right?. We’ll always have that Mister, and believe me, it will be eternal!.
Thank you Tito! Wherever you are, I thank you for having taught us not only the way to keep winning as a team, but also the strength and character needed to face life.
Thanks to all my colleagues with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with, that involves wearing the Barça crest on our chests day after day, for making me feel important within the group that we developed over all these years. Because it all comes down to this, we are who we are, here and now. Thank you gentlemen!.
And of course I cannot forget the most important people, over these twelve years as a professional, wearing this shirt, my most loyal fans. Those people who, whatever happened, were always there to give me the support that a fighter always needs, proud to be there supporting me in the celebrations, giving your support in every game, sending me the positive energy that I have always felt, which kept me going all this time, because without it, it would have been impossible to do it alone.
Thank you, thank you, and a thousand times, thank you. I ask that you please don’t stop giving me that support.
Forever, FORÇA BARÇA!
Víctor Valdés Arribas”.