Valdes clarifies Xavi, backs Iker

Victor Valdes has clarified comments from Xavi Hernandez, backed Iker Casillas at Real Madrid and enthused at Barcelona dropping zonal marking.

Yesterday saw Valdes’ colleague at international level Casillas dropped for Madrid’s opening League fixture of the season by Carlo Ancelotti, in favour of Diego Lopez.

“Yes I was surprised that yesterday he did not start. With the national team I saw him as well, in the Confederations Cup I also saw him as good,” reflected Valdes to reporters today.

“I do not get tired of saying that he has made saves that I thought were not possible. For me he is the best. That is what surprises me about yesterday, yes.

“But he is not at my club so I do not have much more I can say. But for me he is the best. I would like to see him playing, it is a challenge for me to face him.”

Yesterday also saw eyebrows raised at the Camp Nou when Xavi Hernandez appeared to criticise the club’s work in training during Tito Vilanova’s absence during last season.

“I have spoken with Xavi and he says that his words have been misinterpreted. He has meant that Tito’s disease has seen that we were unable to work on certain aspects as we should have.

“It is not that we have not worked, but that we did not do as much as we should have.”

Tactics under new Coach Tata Martino have changed in one particular sense in Valdes’ favour, though, with regards marking from corners.

“The Coach has said from the first moment that he prefers man marking and I am glad because I also do.

“I prefer that everyone assumes their responsibility to each attacker and I have more space to come out.

“We did zonal marking with Pep and Tito and now it has changed and I prefer this type of defensive system.”

The goalkeeper was prompted once more to open the possibility that he may stay at Barcelona beyond the end of this season. Valdes has otherwise made it clear he will be leaving in June 2014, at the expiry of his contract.

“The question sounds like a joke, honestly. I always play to win, always with the same pressure. Since the first day I have been here to the last. That’s it.

“I have spoken with the Coach. It has always been clear, we have been open and I am at his disposal. I told him that I would give everything in every training session and every game.”

Barca impressed in Martino’s first official match, defeating Levante 7-0 in Week 1 of La Liga.

“The team looked really strong from the very first minute.  Now we’re defending higher up the pitch and that means that we win back the ball sooner and with more chances of counterattacking and approaching the opponent’s goal, which is much closer than if we recover the ball further back. 

“I’m happy about the way the match turned out. Starting like that is what you always want. The result sends out a clear message for everyone else. Let’s hope it carries on like this.”

Tags Casillas Martino Valdes Xavi