Belfast Telegraph

Victor Valdes says he's still in the dark over David De Gea's future

By Paul Hirst

Victor Valdes understands the lure of Real Madrid but has no idea whether it will be strong enough to tempt David de Gea away from Manchester United this summer.

De Gea could have played his last match for United after he hobbled off with a hamstring injury in the 74th minute of their 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Sunday.

Valdes (pictured) came on to make his United debut in De Gea's place and is likely to retain the gloves for the final match of the season at Hull next weekend.

Having spent 12 years in Barcelona's first team battling against Real Madrid, Valdes knows all about the strengths of last year's Champions League winners.

But although he regards Madrid as one of the biggest clubs in the world, Valdes is in the dark over whether his compatriot will be heading to the Spanish capital.

"Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United are three of the biggest clubs in the world," the United goalkeeper said. "Everyone in the world wants to play for these clubs. It's a question you would have to put to David. I cannot answer for him."

Valdes picked the ball out of the net eight minutes into his United debut after Theo Walcott's cross flicked off Tyler Blackett and ended up in the goal.

It was an unfortunate way to return to action after 14 months on the sidelines.

Following his comeback from a serious knee injury, Van Gaal offered the goalkeeper a chance to train with United and in January he signed an 18-month contract.

Until Sunday, Valdes' only appearance in a United shirt came for the under-21 side. The 33-year-old insists he has enjoyed his time at the club.

"It's been good, all good," the three-time Champions League winner said. "My team-mates have treated me well here. The coach has treated me well.

"I am very happy to be here. I have one more year on my contract here. Let's see what happens."

Despite sustained chants of "David de Gea, we want you to stay", the United fans gave their new goalkeeper a good welcome.

The Spaniard appreciated the gesture and is keen to repay the supporters.

"It felt very good. It all went very quickly. David asked to come off and the next thing I knew I was on," Valdes said. "It was a great feeling to be on the pitch at Old Trafford, the fans welcomed me very well and I am happy.

"I wasn't happy with the result. It was a lucky goal.

"But I'm happy I made my debut. To come on and be welcomed like that is incredible for a footballer. They are an incredible group of fans."

The result means Arsenal are all but guaranteed to finish in third place, thus granting them direct entry into the Champions League.

United will have to go through a potentially tricky play-off to make the group stages. Potential opponents include Monaco, Lazio or Sporting Lisbon.

But Ashley Young thinks United will be challenging for the title next term.

"We'll come back stronger next year and we'll look to win the league," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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