Belfast Telegraph

Spanish keeper Victor Valdes to start on Man United's bench

By Paul Hirst

Manchester United have completed the signing of former Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes on a free transfer.

Valdes has been training at United since October as part of his bid to recover from a knee injury he suffered in March.

The Spaniard has now regained full fitness and United confirmed he had signed a deal with the 20-time English champions.

"Manchester United is delighted to announce that Victor Valdes has signed an 18-month contract with the option to extend for a further year," a statement from the club read.

Valdes left Barcelona last summer following a successful 12-year spell with the Catalan giants.

Valdes won six domestic titles, three Champions Leagues and the Copa del Rey twice with Barca.

The goalkeeper has also won the World Cup and European Championship with Spain.

Louis van Gaal confirmed, however, that Valdes will start his time at United as second choice behind compatriot David de Gea, who has enjoyed a superb season so far.

"He joins the club as the number two goalkeeper and is a great addition to the first team," the United boss said.

Van Gaal handed Valdes his Barca debut 13 years ago and has been impressed by the goalkeeper's attitude during training sessions at United's Carrington base.

"I am delighted Victor has signed for the Club," Van Gaal said. "Victor is a very experienced goalkeeper and his record speaks for itself. I have said on many occasions that Manchester United will always be interested in the best players.

"Victor has remained very professional throughout his rehabilitation from injury and has been very impressive during his training sessions with the first team over the past weeks."

Valdes said it was an "honour" to sign for United, but acknowledged he faces an extremely tough fight to earn a first-team place at Old Trafford.

"I think now, in the moment, (De Gea) is the best goalkeeper in the world," Valdes said.

"His performances every day and in every game shows everybody that his level is very high."

Valdes does not appear to have any qualms about being De Gea's deputy.

"I am here to help everybody," he said. "Always in my career, I have played to help my team-mates, to help my coach and to help everybody."

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