Barca coach backs Valdes' decision to leave club

Madrid, Jan 19 (IANS) FC Barcelona coach, Tito Vilanova said he respected the decision taken by the club's first choice goalkeeper, Victor Valdes to not renew his contract beyond the end of 2014.

Valdes made public his decision Thursday night after 10 seasons as Barca's first choice keeper, the decision came shortly after he had commented that he would be interested in ending his career after playing in a different league to the Spanish Primera Liga, rather than spend his entire career with Barca, reports Xinhua.

"I have spoken to him and I would like everyone to respect his decision," said Vilanova in his pre-game press conference ahead of Saturday's match away to Real Sociedad.

"Everyone is free to work where they want to and we have to respect that and help him for the time he is with us. He should have a good exit from the club after all that he has given us," he added of a keeper who has won three Champions League and five Primera Liga titles with the club.

Valdes' announcement comes 18 months before the end of his contract and midway through the current season.

"I understand that it may not be the best moment for some people, but it gives the club time to look for a replacement. I have no doubt about his (Valdes') professional attitude and while he continues to perform as he has been doing up to now he will continue to be first choice, although it is a shame (he is leaving) as he is the perfect keeper for Barcelona," continued the coach.

"There is never an ideal moment to say you are leaving, but he has said so a year and a half before his exit and there is no way we can say that he is being greedy," said Vilanova.

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