Victor Valdes is leaving Barcelona after nearly 20 years with the club. The Barcelona native, who joined the youth team all the way back in 1995, announced his departure in an open letter posted on the Barca website.
While being sidelined after major surgery is hardly the way anyone would want to go out, Valdes' goodbye is a classy gesture to all the people who supported him over the years. He will undoubtedly receive a warm sendoff in Barcelona's title-deciding clash with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Here is his goodbye letter in full:
"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".