Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes is set to leave the club after announcing his decision not to sign a new contract.
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Valdes, who has spent his entire professional career at the Nou Camp, is contracted to Barcelona until the end of the 2013/14 season.
His representatives – Gines Carvajal is his principal agent – confirmed in a statement to Spanish national news agency Efe that Valdes intends to depart.
The statement read: "The agents of Victor Valdes have communicated to Barcelona in a meeting held this afternoon the irrevocable decision of the player to not renew his contract."
The 30-year-old has recently suggested he would consider a move to another league. With former Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola heading to Bayern Munich next season, Valdes may become an early target of his old boss.
Valdes has been Barcelona’s number one throughout the last decade, winning a host of trophies and earning recognition with Spain, however Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas has remained the regular international goalkeeper.
Barca coach Tito Vilanova was surprised by Valdes’ decision, but remained full of respect for the player. "I encouraged him to renew," the 44-year-old said. "I had a sense that he would renew, but negotiations never got started. He was direct and we must respect him."
Vilanova, who has spoken with Valdes since the announcement, insisted this afternoon the goalkeeper was not unhappy at the Nou Camp and would remain the club’s number one – form permitting – until his departure.
"I have talked with Victor, one on one, and it was a private conversation. We have to respect his decision," he said. "I’ve seen him happy and content. I do not think he is unhappy with us.
"I understand some people think it is not a good time to go, but it gives the club time to find a replacement in a very difficult position. Anyway, every player is entitled to do what he wants. There is no doubting his professionalism.
"Sometimes we think Barcelona is the best club to play at but we all have the right to play elsewhere, experience other cultures… He’s a free man. I respect him a lot."
He added: "I do not know if Victor can change his mind. I believe it is irreversible, but I do not know.
"Victor gave us 18 months to look for another goalkeeper. He’s honest. This is not about the money – talks didn’t even start."