RICARDO HAPPY DESPITE UNITED LINK
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The new Spanish international has been forwarded in his homeland as a target for Sir Alex Ferguson, after proving his worth with some splendid displays this season.
After Barthez gifted two priceless goals to Thierry Henry in the 3-1 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, the pressure is mounting on Ferguson to take a long, hard look at the goalkeeping situation, with the largely untried Roy Carroll and veteran Raimond van der Gouw perhaps not ideal options for replacing the eccentric Frenchman.
Although Ferguson was quick to axe Mark Bosnich and Massimo Taibi, he could show more faith in Barthez, after the World Cup winner enjoyed a wonderful first season in England, but it is clear that the keeper's position will come under even closer scrutiny if he continues to make high-profile blunders.
The English and foreign media will be quick to link United with a host of number ones from around the world, and Ricardo has been forwarded as a likely option in the Spanish press.
However, the 29-year-old is happy with Valladolid, after breaking into Jose Antonio Camacho's international squad for the recent friendly with Mexico.
"I will try to continue the same line of work so that Camacho returns to remember me," he said, after being called up as number two to Iker Casillas.
"I am happy at Valladolid and, in addition, I have a contract for one more season.
"At the moment, I think only about my present team.
"What happens in the future, we will see."
Atletico Madrid are also interested in bringing him back to his home city, after he previously spent three seasons with the Segunda Liga outfit.