On July 7 2016, Middlesbrough signed former Barcelona goalkeeper and Champions League winner, Victor Valdes in a deal which shocked many of the Middlesbrough faithful.
The experienced goalkeeper joined after a fairly uneventful spell in Belgium with Standard Liege and seemed like he was making one more move before his eventual retirement. While that may have been a motive for the goalkeeper when he made the move to the newly promoted side, the experienced goalkeeper turned out to be one of the better performers for the club amid a poor season.
— • (@UTB76) July 7, 2016
Best keeper in England
— Valorate (@valorate_zomg) July 7, 2016
class signing for the boro
— Mark Dhali (@markdhali) 8 July 2016
— Michael (@delepelee) July 7, 2016
During his time at Barcelona, Valdes played a part in one of the best football team to have ever played in Europe. With Pep at the helm, Messi up front and Xavi and Iniesta in midfield Valdes was part of a team that won four league titles, two Champions Leagues and two Copa del Rey’s.
Following the conclusion of his contract, the Spaniard joined Man U on a free transfer and after making two appearances for United and following his loan spell with Standard Liege, he signed a two-year deal with Boro. Instantly, Valdes was installed as the first-choice goalkeeper at the club and made 28 appearances in the league for Boro but couldn’t do anything to stop the side slumping to relegation.
Notably, Valdes put in superb performances against Man City, Swansea and Bournemouth but as the side began to struggle to stay above water in the league, so did Valdes’ time in Middlesbrough.
Aitor Karanka was essential in bringing him to the side and with the Spaniard’s sacking, it effectively ended Valdes’ time in the north-east. Coincidentally, following Karanka’s departure, Valdes struggled with a rib injury and missed the final seven games of the season and retired soon after.
While Middlesbrough struggled throughout the season, it’s fair to say that Valdes was one of the few players to actually play well amid a pretty poor season for the club. There may not have been much to shout about for most of the season but it seems the Middlesbrough fans were right to praise the signing of Valdes.
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