Over the past few weeks, rumors have been flying around about Victor Valdés and where his future lies.
There has been a strange atmosphere surrounding the whole discussion around the goalkeeper's place at Barcelona.
He is one of the symbols of this Barcelona side, considered by many the best in history.
He is a record five times winner of the Zamora trophy that rewards the keeper who concedes the less goals in La Liga. He was brought up through La Masia, has played more Clasicos than any other Barcelona No. 1 and is the “best goalkeeper in the world” according to his current coach Tito Vilanova. (via Marca)
It wouldn’t be surprising then, if like his teammates, and fellow captains, Puyol and Xavi, he would chose to finish his career at the club that brought him to these heights. Yet, since the matter of renewing his contract popped up, he has been sending a series of signals that would hint toward an exit from the Barcelona ranks.
It all started, when a few weeks back, the Barcelona keeper announced that he might not stay in Spain until the end of his career and that he would think about “experiencing other cultures, other styles of football, other countries, whatever comes my way” (via Sky Sports).
That was the day before he was due to sit down with the Barcelona decision-makers to pen a new contract. His current one expires in 2014 and has a €150 million buyout clause.
This week, another public exchange between club, agent and keeper raised the questions of Valdes’ renovation. Once again, it delivered no conclusion.
After the cup game against Cordoba sporting director Andoni Zubizaretta said that the contract talks were “well on the way” only for this information to be denied the very next day by the keeper’s agent, Ginés Carvajal. (via Frank Tigani of Goal.com)
“At no time have we sat down to talk with Barça about Víctor Valdés' future,” said the agent.
Valdés himself came out later the same day to announcing:
"I want to clarify that I haven't yet said anything about my future. I will when the time is right. Everything that is being said is pure speculation.” (via Marca)
Speculation is exactly what will follow. And until a clarification is given, Barça fans will be mulling over the question of whether the familiar figure of the goalkeeper they have had for the past decade will be in goal at the Camp Nou next season.
Wonder who could replace him at Barcelona? Here is a list of those most likely to do it.