Talent and Personality Will See Victor Valdes Become Liverpool's First Choice

Guillem Balague@@GuillemBalagueFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 2014

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As I have said before, when things start to move in the transfer business, they tend to move fast.

Sometimes, however, they can move very slowly indeed for the simple reason that there’s no hurryyet.

Such is the case for Victor Valdes and Liverpool. The club and the player have agreed personal termsBrendan Rodgers and Valdes share a mutual admiration of each other so, pending a medical, he will end up at Anfield.

The player loves the club, and Rodgers loves how Valdes can effectively play almost as a sweeper as much as a goalkeeper, and the skills that make him one of the best distributors of the ball ever to play the game. 

The Liverpool manager also admires the intensity with which the Spaniard approaches all aspects of games and, above all, his passion.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

As I say, there is still the small matter of a medical to go through, which I’m led to believe will take place next month. And it's safe to say it will be no formality bearing in mind that Valdes has been out of action since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on Mar. 26 in a match against Celta Vigo. 

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There was never any great rush for the club to sign the 32-year-old before the 11 p.m. deadline on Sept. 1 because, as the Spaniard is a free agent, the deal could be done at a later date.

Rodgers announced on Monday nobody else would be leaving the club and that there might just be one more player coming in. When nothing was heard by the cut-off time, it became even clearer Valdes was very likely to be the player he was talking about.

The player's agent, Gines Carvajal, admitted recently the goalkeeper "would be playing for a big club before Christmas."

But it’s a measure of what Barcelona thought about Valdes that, despite his notorious awkwardness and severe injury, the club still wanted to keep him. However, the goalkeeper was desperate to leave.

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In the past, Valdes has had disputes with coaches and agents. He changed his representative a while backmuch to the chagrin of Barcelona, who have always regarded Carvajal as Real Madrid-"friendly." This confirmed Camp Nou fears that their goalkeeper was trying to be different, or worse—difficult.

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell once said three of the hardest things to be in life were the Pope, the President of the USA and the goalkeeper at Barcelona.

As difficult as it may have been, it’s certainly an opportunity the prickly, combative, Catalan custodian from L’Hospitalet de Llobregat grabbed with both hands after getting his first chance following the arrival of Radomir Antic in 2002.

Since then, Valdes has played no fewer than 535 first-team games, 125 more than the former goalkeeping appearance record holder, Andoni Zubizaretta, with 410.

ROME - MAY 27:  Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes lifts the trophy as he celebrates winning the UEFA Champions League Final match between Manchester United and Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico on May 27, 2009 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

In that time, Valdes has won six league titles, two Copas del Rey, six Spanish Supercups, three Champions League titles, two UEFA Super Cups, two FIFA Club World Cups and, although not first-choice, he was a squad member of the Spanish World Cup-winning side of 2010 and the European Championship in 2012.

In his emotional farewell letter, he thanked just about everyone who had ever coached him, but omittedeither by accident or designthe name of Antic, who gave him his first-team debut, and Tata Martino, who was at the helm when he played his last game for the club.

Strange indeed.

But that strong personality and his undisputed talentmany people are going to be pleasantly surprised by his big talenthas always worked in his favour. It will not take long for him to be Liverpool's No. 1.

*All information has been sourced firsthand.


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