Putting an official end to his 22-year connection with Barcelona, Victor Valdes has marked his departure from the club with an open letter addressed to La Blaugrana's fans.
Bleacher Report UK has the letter in full as Valdes calls an end to his time with the European titans:
The message was published on the club's official website, with Valdes picking out prominent figures from his time at the Camp Nou for the parts they played in his career:
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!
The 32-year-old goes on to make special dedications to Louis van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard, Tito Vilanova and Pep Guardiola, each of whom had an impact on Valdes' prolific stay in Catalan country.
Lastly, Valdes paid tribute to the Camp Nou support who have allowed him to become the world-class keeper he is today, showing their admiration through good times and bad:
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.
Valdes first joined Barca in July 1992 but left shortly after when his family relocated to Tenerife. It wasn't until three years later that the stopper rejoined the Spanish giants, since going on to make 528 appearances for the club, per Transfermarkt.
Tom Conn of Inside Spanish Football recently reported that the goalkeeper's career path will next turn to Monaco, who are alleged to have agreed a pre-contract with Valdes, who is soon to be out of contract.
It's highly speculated that Valdes will be replaced by German prodigy Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, whose final game at home for Borussia Monchengladbach recently evoked an emotional goodbye from the stopper.
Although there has been no official announcement of his move to the Camp Nou, Sky Sports report that Ter Stegen is indeed "Barcelona-bound," providing the next step in his development as one of the fastest-rising goalkeepers in Europe.
If the move does come to fruition, Ter Stegen will be hoping to accomplish the same wonders as his predecessor, and he has plenty of time to ignite a dynasty of his own at just 22 years of age.
During his time at Barcelona, Valdes has won every major title up for grabs, including three Champions League crowns, six La Liga trophies, two FIFA Club World Cups, two Spanish Cups, six Spanish Supercups and more.
OptaFranz show just how highly Valdes stands in terms of European competition, noting few keepers are his equal:
Injury has meant the veteran's closing season in Catalan country hasn't ended in the manner he would have preferred, as he states in his goodbye letter, with Jose Manuel Pinto having to play a more prominent role than usual.
One would think that a career as decorated as Valdes' would have led to an ego being built up over the years, but the Spanish international remains indebted to those who have been with him since the start.
Choosing not to extend his stay at the Camp Nou, Valdes now heads for pastures new in an attempt to begin a new chapter in his career, but one that's unlikely to produce anything close to the success he's seen with La Blaugrana.
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