Victor Valdes Injured: Barcelona Given Another Headache Thanks to Injury

Christopher HeathmanCorrespondent IINovember 20, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Victor Valdes (R) and his team-mate Jose Manuel Pinto of FC Barcelona chat during the warm up prior to the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad de Futbol at Camp Nou on September 24, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Victor Valdes is set to be out for up to six weeks after suffering a calf injury while on international duty, giving Barcelona yet another injury headache going into the new year.

The La Liga champions would have been planning how to survive without the injured Lionel Messi, who is set to be out for up to two months with a hamstring injury, but now their problems have multiplied with this latest forced absence.

Despite being part of a team which includes Andres Iniesta, Neymar, Sergio Busquets, and not to mention Messi himself, Valdes has been Barcelona's most important player this season. With a save percentage of 84 percent, the Spanish international currently has the best goalkeeping record in La Liga.

Valdes pulled off arguably the save of the season so far against Real Betis, which has drawn comparisons to Gordon Banks' remarkable save during the 1970 World Cup against Brazil. 

Barca were under a lot of pressure at 0-0, and shortly after that save was made, it was Barcelona that made the breakthrough. They ran out 4-1 winners in the end, but it was Valdes' save which sent them on their way.

He also pulled off an excellent 90th minute save back in August away to Malaga, which earned his side all three points. His performance in the season's first "El Clasico" made us briefly forget the severe mistakes he made in the same fixture in previous seasons. The most important of which stopped Cristiano Ronaldo from equalising before Barca bagged their second to seal the win.

His injury, therefore, is more of an issue for Barca than Messi's, which in itself is a statement no one expected to be said and be taken seriously at the same time.

What do Barcelona do for the games he is absent?

Yes, the best defensive record in the league belongs to "Blaugrana", but as we have seen that is largely thanks to Valdes. With Atletico Madrid still in the hunt and Real Madrid, led by the combination of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, likely to catch up, it will be down to José Manuel Pinto to keep Barca ahead.

This is a deeply unsettling notion on the face of it, but the second-choice keeper did perform well the last time he was needed. Form, though, could be an issue here. He has not played a game for Barcelona this season, and he will be replacing the man who is currently the best keeper in the league.

Pinto may come in and play well, but it is very unlikely to be at the same level as Valdes. Not too much of an issue, but let's be honest, Barcelona need a keeper of that caliber to cover for a back line which will cause the man between the sticks almost as much trouble as the opposite team's attackers.

The defence is still shaky to say the least. It is still susceptible to counter-attacks and still lacks mobility when the opposite team fire in crosses and attack at speed. The term "flat footed" best describes an often-makeshift defence as they continue to use midfielders such as Javier Mascherano and Alex Song as centre-back cover. 

To cover for Messi's absence, Barcelona can rely on the in form Alexis Sanchez and Pedro Rodriguez. They also have Cesc Fabregas, Iniesta and Neymar because the top goalscorers in the league do not struggle scoring goals.

To make up for the absence of Valdes for six weeks, the Catalans do not just need a keeper, but also a defensive line-up to match.

It could be a tough run before the winter break with both Valdes and Messi missing. They can only hope they're both fit in time to face Atletico in the new year.