Departing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has written an open letter to bid farewell to the club.
The injured Spanish first choice, who holds the Catalans records for most appearances in the league and in official competition, is drawing the curtains on his 12-year stay at the La Liga giants in June.
He won six Spanish championship titles, and three Uefa Champions League winner’s medals during his stay at the club. He has also won the Zamora trophy- for the best goalkeeper in the Spanish league season- a record five times.
“The time has come for me to say goodbye to you all,” Valdes, who has featured 535 times for Barcelona and conceded just 441 goals, wrote.
“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.”
The La Masia academy product took time to thank his former managers; from prospective Manchester United boss, Louis Van Gaal, who gave him his first shot and won two Spanish league titles and one King’s Cup between 1997 and 2002, to the deceased Tito Vilanova, as well as the Barcelona fans.
“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 Barça side, which I have been privileged to be part of. My heartfelt thanks,” he continued.
“Thank you Frank Rijkaard, for giving me the confidence necessary, and allowing me to achieve glory, getting my hands on the European Cup in Paris.
“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?.
“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.
“And of course I cannot forget the most important people, over these twelve years as a professional, wearing this shirt, my most loyal fans.
“I ask that you please don’t stop giving me that support.”
Valdes tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the 22nd minute of Barca’s 3-0 win over Celta de Vigo in March. He was not included in coach Vicente Del Bosque’s provisional squad for the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.
He had earlier insist he would rather join big-spending Monaco as he look to move away from Spain, where he has spent all his career.
Gerardo Martino’s side have reportedly agreed a fee with German club Borussia Monchengladbach-in the tune of £6.75m- for Marc-Andre ter Stegen to replace Valdes at the end of the current campaign.
Other goalkeepers who have been linked with the Camp Nou outfit includes Napoli’s on-loan Liverpool shot-stopper Pepe Reina, Celtic’s Fraser Forster and Chelsea’s Thaibut Courtois.
Valdes added: “Thanks to all my colleagues with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with, that involves wearing the Barça crest on our chests day after day, for making me feel important within the group that we developed over all these years. Because it all comes down to this, we are who we are, here and now. Thank you gentlemen!.”