Victor Valdes, Perfect For Barcelona
Being a Barcelona goalkeeper has never been an easy job. Previous keepers such as Bonano, Hesp, Rustu, Vitor Baia or even Andoni Zubizarreta (who was gradually replaced by Carles Busquets due to his poor passing skills, then sold to Valencia on the cheap) are living examples.
Since the times of Johan Cruyff's Dream Team, most of Barcelona's focus is put into attacking and goalscoring. Defending the Barcelona goal has historically been tricky, as most of our rival's chances end up being one-on-ones or easy one-touch shots. A Barcelona goalkeeper must be not only agile and able to react quickly but also an aggressive sweeper who can pass the ball on the floor with confidence under pressure.
As a result, Victor Valdes is simply irreplaceable at Barcelona. In my opinion, there is simply no keeper in the world who could be more suitable to our current formation than 'El Gato' Valdes. Victor has the charisma of a leader, has absorbed the Blaugrana mentality from a very early age and, undoubtedly, has the reflexes and skills needed to perform at the highest standard in professional football.
Victor Valdes is about to win his 5th Zamora trophy in a league that has Iker Casillas in it. Considering how much admiration and recognition the Real Madrid goalkeeper generates around the world, it would be silly to deny our Catalan's merit. After 10 years defending our Camp Nou goal and contributing to 18 collective titles, doubting 30-year-old Victor Valdes seems controversial, to sat the least.
The experienced Catalan keeper is also Barcelona's vice-captain, together with Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta. I believe that changing one of the core members of our team at a time when the Blaugranas are about to lose the stability Pep Guardiola has brought to our dressing room and club in general would not be a great idea.
If Tito Vilanova wants to keep our current level of excellence for years to come, Victor Valdes must continue to play a key role.
Pinto, The Patient Squire
Jose Manuel Pinto has visibly improved his footwork as a result of hours of hard-work, practice and determination over the years, mainly forced by Barcelona's constant focus on playing the ball on the floor.
Victor Valdes' substitute keeper is an easy-going professional who never complains, understands his role within the team and gets on with the job whenever given the chance. Pinto's ball control with his feet isn't necessarily brilliant, but his perseverance has paid off and has now reached a decent standard.
The key questions here are: Would I be comfortable with Pinto covering Victor Valdes during a long-term injury? Well, not entirely. Can Barcelona find a cheap, world-class goalkeeper who is happy to sit on the bench quietly for as long as necessary? Probably not.
As things stand today, I am inclined to say Jose Manuel Pinto is the best choice Barcelona have for the reserve goalkeeper position. Having said that, I would like to see Barcelona B's Oier or another upcoming La Masia keeper a proper chance to prove their worth at the highest level next season, as the 36-year-old Pinto isn't getting any younger.
What We Learned
Barcelona is expected to lift La Liga, the Champions League and every other trophy every year. Having a reliable goalkeeper is the basis for any team with high expectations: I am certain Victor Valdes is definitely capable of delivering quality performances in goal while building Barcelona's play from the back.
As for Pinto... He's obviously not perfect but must be the obvious choice at this moment in time. In his case, only time will tell what the future brings.
Have Your Say
What did you think of this article?
Do you trust Victor Valdes to defend Barcelona's goal in the future?
Is Jose Manuel Pinto good enough to keep his place in the Barcelona squad?
Did I miss out on any important points you would like to share with us?
I welcome and appreciate all respectful feedback.
Posted by: Francesc Tomàs
Founder and Columnist at www.barcablog.com
Join our 27,000 followers on Facebook or Twitter