Time for Spain coach Del Bosque to reward Valdes?
It’s hard to believe Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has yet to win a cap for Spain and that he isn’t even in the running for the World Cup finals this summer.
The 28-year-old has been Barca’s number one since the 2003-4 season and was a fundamental cog in Pep Guardiola’s Barca machine that swept to an unprecedented six trophies last year.
He has two European Champions League and three La Liga titles to his name and the best statistics this season in the Spanish top flight with only 10 goals conceded in 19 games.
Valdes, who looks like a U.S. Marine with his imposing bulk and shaven head, was on top form again on Saturday, making a string of important saves against Real Valladolid before Barca broke out to win 3-0.
“He’s been playing very well for many years now. He’s getting better day by day,” Guardiola said.
“In Tenerife (two weeks ago) he saved us and he has done it again here.”
The problem for Valdes is that European champions Spain have an embarrassment of goalkeeping riches.
Coach Vicente del Bosque has Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas as his number one, Liverpool’s Pepe Reina number two and Villarreal’s Diego Lopez as third choice.
Spain were the only country to have three representatives in the top ten in the 2009 IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics) rankings for goalkeepers, with Casillas first, Valdes sixth and Reina seventh.
Valdes has shrugged off a reputation for being gaffe-prone, but although he is having perhaps his best season yet, calls for his inclusion in the Spain squad are few and far between.
Has anyone checked whether he’s eligible for England?
PHOTO: Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes reacts during the Club World Cup final against Estudiantes in Abu Dhabi, Dec. 19, 2009. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh