The Middlesbrough goalkeeper has spoken out about his nightmare stint at Old Trafford, where he was frozen out of the first team by former manager Louis van Gaal.
Barcelona legend Victor Valdes has a second shot at a successful Premier League career, as the 34-year-old prepares to play a major role for Aitor Karanka’s newly promoted Middlesbrough side.
The Spaniard has recently spoken out about his torrid one-and-a-half year spell at Old Trafford, revealing that he even considered retirement at one point.
“I feel like a professional footballer again after all those hard days in Manchester,” said Valdes in an interview with Sky Sports.
“It’s difficult to explain, but it was hard being alone. Sometimes at United I thought ‘I don’t need this’, but I am a fighter and a professional.
“I don’t have any bad words for Van Gaal or Manchester United. They helped me through my injury and the manager gave me my chance as a footballer at Barcelona and then again at United.”
Valdes went on to express his gratitude to Man United U21 coach Alan Fettis, who kept him going at the club and coaxed him to continue playing when he considered retirement.
Victor Valdes was signed by Manchester United in January 2015 as a possible replacement for compatriot David De Gea, who appeared to be set for a move to Old Trafford. However, the Spaniard had a very public falling out with former manager Louis van Gaal, with whom he enjoyed a great relationship at Barcelona.
It was the Dutchman who had handed him his debut at Camp Nou, but at Old Trafford, Van Gaal banished the Spaniard from the first team and even denied him access to the training ground while the first team was present.
The 34-year-old was released by new manager Jose Mourinho, and Middlesbrough subsequently signed him on a free transfer. Boro boss Aitor Karanka will be hoping that the Barcelona icon’s experience and ability will help the club in their battle to survive in the Premier League.