La Liga: Spain and Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes bids farewell
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has said an emotional goodbye in an open letter to fans of the Catalan club.
Last Updated: 14/05/14 11:25am
The 32-year-old Spaniard announced he would leave the Nou Camp last summer but was then rocked by anterior cruciate ligament damage in March and needed surgery.
It is unlikely he will return to action before October at the earlier and meant he would miss the World Cup and would not feature in a Barcelona shirt again.
Ahead of his side's Primera Division title decider against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 1, Valdes published a letter on the Barcelona website declaring his gratitude and frustrations over the last three months.
He said: "The time has come for me to say goodbye to you all. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to say goodbye playing football, as I would have liked, but that's life at times, and this year has been a bit cruel to me in this regard.
"I've had time to look at where I am and what I've become. I can only think about the people who helped me to get where I am today. I dedicate this letter to them."
Valdes, who has been tipped to join Monaco, made 535 appearances since making his debut over a decade ago, winning six La Liga titles, three Champions League crowns and two Copa del Reys.
Valdes paid tribute to former managers Louis van Gaal, Frank Rijkaard, Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova, who recently lost his battle with throat cancer.
His letter continued: "Thank you to Louis van Gaal, for showing the courage necessary to gamble on a talent that only he could see. He began building this historic Barca side, which I have been privileged to be part of. My heartfelt thanks.
"Thank you Pep, for having opened the door to playing a game that was unknown to me, for guiding me along the road where one has to keep looking for success, and we did it together, right?. We'll always have that Mister, and believe me, it will be eternal!
"Thank you Tito! Wherever you are, I thank you for having taught us not only the way to keep winning as a team, but also the strength and character needed to face life."
He finished by expressing his thanks to the Barcelona faithful, adding: "Of course I cannot forget the most important people, over these 12 years as a professional, wearing this shirt, my most loyal fans.
"Those people who, whatever happened, were always there to give me the support that a fighter always needs, proud to be there supporting me in the celebrations, giving your support in every game, sending me the positive energy that I have always felt, which kept me going all this time, because without it, it would have been impossible to do it alone.
"Thank you, thank you, and a thousand times, thank you. I ask that you please don't stop giving me that support. Forever, FORÇA BARÇA!"
If Barca triumph in their final game of the season at the Nou Camp, they will be crowned champions ahead of current leaders Atletico by virtue of a better head-to-head record.
Watch Barcelona v Atletico Madrid, Saturday, 5.15pm Sky Sports 1