Barca’s Valdes fancies English Premier League

Madrid, April 6 (IANS) FC Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has admitted he would like to play in the English Premier League.

Valdes shocked the club at the start of the year by announcing he did not intend to renew his current contract with Barca, which expires in the summer of 2014 and now it looks as if he has decided on a possible destination, reports Xinhua.

“I like the Premier League. They shoot a lot at goal and I like the respect that the public traditionally show there to the players in England. It is a different way of living football and I like it,” said Valdes Friday.

He explained that he had lived in Tenerife where there are a lot of British ex-patriots living and they had helped form his opinion.

“I saw them go to the bars, all wearing their shirts and I used to watch them celebrate in the street, dancing and drinking beer. It was fun as I’d never seen anything like that,” said Valdes.

“I want to try new cultures and have new challenges. I have had great times with Barca and I will always come back here, but I want to travel.”

Valdes will not play in Barca’s game at home to Mallorca as he is still suspended and his place will once again be filled by Jose Pinto.

However, Valdes is not the only player to be missing from the Barca line up as Lionel Messi misses out as a result of the hamstring injury he picked up in Paris Tuesday.

Messi’s absence will end his incredible run of scoring in 19 consecutive league games and Barca coach Tito Vilanova will have to find a solution, especially as he will look to rest key players ahead of next week’s return leg against Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League.

Vilanova, who can expect an emotional return to the Camp Nou Stadium in his first home game since returning from New York where he received cancer treatment for two months, will almost certainly rest players such as Xavi Hernandez, who has to rest a troublesome hamstring, and Andres Iniesta for the game, although Iniesta will probably be on the subs’ bench.

Meanwhile, he will have to sort out the club’s defence given the knee injury suffered by Javier Mascherano in Paris. With Carles Puyol out for a further month after a knee injury, Marc Barta is the only specialist central defender left to partner Gerard Pique and will almost certainly start but Vilanova will have to cross his fingers that his side suffer no further losses in defence.

The losses in defence could see Eric Abidal return to action at some moment Saturday, almost 400 days after he underwent a liver transplant following his recovery from cancer. It would be an emotional moment for the popular defender but the fact is also that a fit that Abidal would provide further options in both central defence and at left back.

With Vilanova and Abidal back, it will be an emotional night for Barca against Mallorca that needs to win in order to maintain their hopes of avoiding relegation.

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