Valdes leaps to his own defence

Goalkeeper disputes criticism by van Gaal that he refused to play for United's U-21 side

LONDON • Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes hit back at manager Louis van Gaal yesterday by posting pictures of himself with the club's Under-21 team, whom the Dutchman had accused him of refusing to play for.

Valdes was left out of the club's tour to the United States and van Gaal told reporters in Seattle that the former Spanish international is on his way out of Old Trafford because "last season, he refused to play in the second team".

But Valdes, who signed an 18-month contract with United in January, responded with a post on Twitter, including mention of three Under-21 games and a picture of himself in the dressing-room with the message "...? #respect".

That the 33-year-old escalated his dispute with van Gaal publicly ensures that he will not have a future under the no-nonsense manager after only six months at the Premier League club.

"He doesn't follow our philosophy. There is no place for someone like that," said the Dutchman, revealing why Valdes had not travelled with the rest of his squad.

Victor Valdes’ riposte is a tweet showing various reserve matches he had played in, with the caption .....? #respect. PHOTO: TWITTER/1VICTORVALDES


There is no place for someone like that.

LOUIS VAN GAAL, Man United boss, on Victor Valdes' refusal to play for the second team

"The philosophy is how you play football, and how you maintain your match rhythm.

"For example, he refused last (season) to play in the second team.

"That's also one aspect of our philosophy but there are a lot of other aspects in the philosophy of how you have to play like a goalkeeper in Manchester United.

"When you are not willing to follow the principles of the philosophy, then there is only one way and that is out," continued van Gaal.

Asked directly if he was selling the player, the manager replied: "Yes. For us, it is a big disappointment because we thought he would follow our philosophy.

"When you are not playing in the first selection, then you must play in the second selection.

"Every player has to do that and he refused to do that."

It is not the first time the pair have clashed. When they worked together at Barcelona in 2002, Valdes declined to play in a reserve game after being dropped and was fined.

Their latest spat could leave the manager with a goalkeeping crisis with less than a month to go till the new season .

United's No. 1 David de Gea is still being heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid even though reports from Spain suggested that Real could offer him €5 million (S$7.5 million) to see out his contract at United before joining them on a free transfer next summer.

Should de Gea and Valdes both exit, van Gaal will be left with only Anders Lindegaard, a 31-year-old with 19 United appearances in five seasons, as back-up.

United, however, are interested in signing Argentinian free agent Sergio Romero.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'Valdes leaps to his own defence'. Print Edition | Subscribe