Víctor Valdés Arribas is a retired Spanish professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He spent most of his professional career with Barcelona in La Liga, and is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the club’s history, having appeared in 535 official games for the club and won 21 major titles, notably six La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League championships. Valdés also won the Zamora Trophy a record five times. He currently holds the club records as goalkeeper with most appearances in the league and in official competition, breaking Andoni Zubizarreta’s records during the 2011–12 season. After leaving Barcelona at the end of his contract in July 2014, he joined Manchester United in January 2015. He played rarely at United, and after a brief loan at Standard Liège, he moved on to Middlesbrough. After being released by Middlesbrough at the end of the 2016–17 season, Valdés retired from professional football. Valdés made his full international debut in 2010 and earned 20 international caps. He was part of the Spain squads which won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.
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On 16 August 2005, Valdés was called up for a friendly game against Uruguay, but did not take the field. On 20 May 2010, he was included in Spain’s final 23-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa as the third-choice goalkeeper behind Iker Casillas and Pepe Reina, wearing the number 12 shirt. On 3 June 2010, Valdés earned his first cap, starting in a friendly match between Spain and South Korea at Tivoli-Neu in Innsbruck, Austria. Valdés was part of the Spanish squads that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, despite not playing in either tournament. He was also in the Spanish squad which reached the final of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil. His sole appearance in a major tournament came in their last group game, keeping a clean sheet in a 3–0 win over Nigeria at the Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza.
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Valdés made his first team debut against Legia Warszawa in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on 14 August 2002. The early part of the 2002–03 season saw Valdés play deputy to Argentine international Roberto Bonano, but the arrival of Radomir Antić as the new manager in January 2003 saw regular first-team opportunities for Valdés. In the 2003–04 season, he emerged as first-choice goalkeeper, and in the 2004–05 season, he played in almost all of Barcelona’s matches, helping Barcelona to their first league title in six years. He also won the Zamora Trophy as the best goalkeeper in Spain that season. In the 2005–06 season, Valdés helped Barça to the European Double. He played a big part in Barça’s 2005–06 UEFA Champions League title and in the final against Arsenal, he denied Thierry Henry twice from point-blank range. His efforts saw him singled out for praise from Frank Rijkaard. The “Zamora” title, however, eluded him, as Valdés came third after Santiago Cañizares and the winner, José Manuel Pinto. On 17 June 2007, the last round of La Liga, Valdés matched a goalkeeping record held by former Barcelona goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta by starting, and never being substituted, in all 38 matches of the La Liga season. Valdés set the Barcelona club record for not conceding a goal in European competition with a clean sheet against Rangers on 7 November 2007, which saw him re-write the Barça record books after not conceding a goal for 466 minutes. Valdés was beaten twice by Olympique Lyonnais captain Juninho Pernambucano through a 45-yard free kick and a late penalty kick at the Stade de Gerland, ending his streak. In the 2006–07 and 2007–08 seasons, however, Barça failed to win a major trophy. On 1 April 2008, Valdés made his 250th appearance for Barcelona. On 27 May 2009, Barcelona beat Manchester United 2–0 in the 2009 UEFA Champions League Final to complete an unprecedented Treble of La Liga, Champions League, and Copa del Rey. In the match, Valdés made two saves from attempts by Cristiano Ronaldo in both halves. In the first half, he saved a long-range free kick, and in the second half, he saved the other from Ronaldo, coming from a tight angle following a low cross from Dimitar Berbatov. On 16 May 2010, Valdés won his fourth title as Barcelona clinched a second successive Spanish league title with Pep Guardiola’s side, ending the season with 99 points. On 29 August 2011, Valdés played his 410th match with Barcelona and equaled Andoni Zubizarreta’s record as Barcelona’s goalkeeper with the most appearances. In 2012, Valdés made a goalkeeping error against Real Madrid in the Supercopa de España that culminated in Ángel Di María scoring a decisive goal and narrowing down Barcelona’s two-goal advantage. Real Madrid went on to win the Super Cup in the second leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. On 1 May 2013, in a 3–0 Champions League semi-final loss to FC Bayern Munich at Camp Nou, Valdés made his 100th appearance in the competition, becoming the 17th player to do so. Later that month, Valdés announced that he would not renew his Barcelona contract, which was due to expire at the end of the 2013–14 season. He cited the pressure of representing the club and stated that he had declared his wish to leave early enough for the club to find a replacement. On 26 March 2014, in a 3–0 victory against Celta de Vigo, Valdés tore his anterior cruciate ligament in the 22nd minute of the match and was substituted off, and was ruled out for the rest of the season, ending his Barcelona career and ruling him out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.