Valdes handed high praise
Juan Carlos Unzue has no doubt that Victor Valdes is one of the best three goalkeepers in the world.
By Lucas Brown
Last Updated: 04/08/09 2:28pm
Juan Carlos Unzue has no doubt that Victor Valdes is one of the best three goalkeepers in the world and feels he has proven that with his performances in big games for Barcelona.
The Blaugrana goalkeeping coach thinks that the Catalan custodian's performances in two Champions League finals, the semi-finals of last season's competition and in three league title wins, ranks him alongside the best in the business.
Barca had struggled to fill the position after Andoni Zubizarreta moved on and Valdes had his critics in the beginning, but Unzue is adamant that he has more than proved himself over the last seven years.
"He is absolutely one of the three best in the world. Not just because of his quality. Tell me another goalkeeper that has been so determining in helping a team win two Champions Leagues and three league titles," he told Sport.
"His main strength is his consistency. He is a goalkeeper that commits very few mistakes.
"It is true that the way that Barcelona plays means that other teams do not have as many shots as other keepers face, but when they do he is always ready.
"His team-mates feel very secure having him behind them and that is a great virtue because historically the position of goalkeeper has been a difficult one."
Unzue added: "Last season he was as good as he has been for four or five years.
"Just like he was in the Champions League final in Paris in 2006 (against Arsenal), Victor was a key factor in the semi-final against Chelsea and in the final against Manchester United."
Valdes has never received a call-up to the Spain squad and Unzue admits that he is mystified as to why that is because he thinks that the keeper has consistently shown that he is capable of competing at international level.
"He has done more than enough to be in the Spain squad. He deserves to be given a chance, at the very least," he continued.
"In the last few games Spain has begun to play with a system very similar to Barcelona's and he would do very well as a result."