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Saturday 3 December 2016

Valdes 'happy' at United despite lack of game time

Manchester United's Victor Valdes
Manchester United's Victor Valdes

Victor Valdes has yet to make his Manchester United senior debut over two months since signing for the Reds on a free transfer but he is still happy with life at Old Trafford.

The six times La Liga winner and three times Champions League winner with Barcelona joined as David de Gea's number two early in January but hasn't been given a senior chance by his one-time Nou Camp mentor Louis van Gaal.

FA Cup chances against Cambridge and Preston when speculation was rife that the 33-year-old would play to give his fellow Spaniard a break, have come and gone.

But Valdes, who was given his Barca breakthrough by the United boss, is still delighted he turned his rehab period at Old Trafford into an 18-month deal.

"Seriously, I'm happy. It's not so different for my family. I have three children and my eldest kid is five years old and was already studying English in Barcelona, so it's not a big change for him and his brothers," says Valdes.

"I'm very happy with my knee and playing with my new team-mates. It's a good feeling to be on the pitch again playing football. It is most important for me after my injury."

It was 12 months ago last week that Valdes' swansong weeks at Barcelona turned into a nightmare. Having announced he was quitting the Catalan club after over 500 appearances in a trophy laden period Valdes tore his cruciate knee ligament against Celta Vigo.

His World Cup in Brazil for Spain was in tatters and a glorious send off to his time at Barca was in ruins.

But Van Gaal offered Valdes the chance to recuperate at United's Carrington training complex in October and he regained his fitness to sign a short term deal with the option of a further year.

"I am very happy for this option in my career after my injury," Valdes says.

"I never thought maybe I will be a player of Manchester United but the manager called me and gave me this option, so it was a surprise for me.

"I always say it's great for my career to be a part of this club and part of this team and, maybe, I hope to win another important trophy here too.

"They (United and Barcelona) are both massive clubs with a massive number of trophy wins and the number of fans around the world is so big. I think it's the same when you play for one of the most important clubs in the world, Man U or Barcelona, you must win always."

There were less than 5000 in Old Trafford for Valdes' bow in the reserves and in stark contrast to the last time in 2008 when a full Old Trafford was shaking when Paul Scholes' outswinging rocket flew past Valdes to put the Reds into the Champions League final in Moscow at the expense of Valdes and Lionel Messi.

"Yes, the first time since that Scholes day!" he said. "It was good to play there again. It's a very nice stadium."

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