Victor Valdés: The Unsung Hero of FC Barcelona

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst IOctober 7, 2010

BILBAO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 25:  Goalkeeper Victor Valdes of Barcelona calms his teammates during the La Liga match between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona at the San Mames Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Bilbao, Spain. Barcelona won the match 3-1.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

When trying to explain Barcelona's tremendous success over the past two seasons, most pundits immediately refer to the likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta or even Puyol and Piqué. However, flying under the radar, there's one player that has been at least as important as these artists: Victor Valdés, Barcelona's fantastic goalkeeper.

Though underrated, Victor Valdés was definitely the silent hero behind Barcelona's sextuple-winning season and he has been statistically the best goalkeeper in La Liga for the past two seasons (yes, Casillas included).

Every top team must have a great goalkeeper; Manchester United have Van der Sar, Chelsea have Petr Cech, Inter have Julio Cesar, Milan used to have Dida...and Barcelona have Valdés, indisputably a world-class goalkeeper.

Thanks to Barcelona's dominating style of football, Valdés rarely has much work, but he always rises to the occasion when called upon. Last season, he was decisive in both El Classicos. At Camp Nou, he brilliantly denied Cristiano Ronaldo with the score at 0-0. At the Bernabeu, he was also brilliant, denying every chance Real had. Also, he gave Barcelona a lot more points during the season with crucial saves in several matches. It can be argued that Barcelona owe the title to their brilliant goalkeeper.

Barcelona are hands down the most offensive team in the world and that leaves their defense very exposed at times. When that happens, it's always Valdés who comes to the rescue. Messi, Xavi and Iniesta might get most of the credit, but no Barcelona fan underestimates Valdés's importance.

Valdés' fabulous performance against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was key in Barcelona's legendary sextuple-winning year, which is further evidence of Valdés' undeniable quality and vital role in the team's success.

Barcelona haters will be reluctant to admit it, but Valdés is definitely a world-class goalkeeper and just as important for Barcelona as Xavi or Lionel Messi. His teammates trust him enough to play an all-out attack game without any worries, since Valdés never disappoints them.

At 28, Victor Valdés is already a Barcelona legend and a hero among the blaugrana fans!