Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has clarified his refusal to assume the captaincy after the substitution of Xavi Hernandez in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Athletic Bilbao, saying the armband was "too small" for him to wear comfortably, reports El Mundo Deportivo.

The 31-year-old was heavily criticised on social networking sites for his apparent snub, but moved to clear up the confusion surrounding his actions by posting a response on Twitter.

Valdes was next in line to take the armband from Xavi after the midfielder was replaced by Lionel Messi just before the hour mark at San Mames, with Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta not in Tito Vilanova's line-up.

Thiago Alcantara was handed the Barca band to pass on to Valdes, but the Spanish stopper shunned the responsibility, leaving Messi to stand in as skipper.

"The assignment of the captain's armband to Messi during yesterday's game was for no other reason than because of a problem with size," explained the goalkeeper.

"By not being able to adjust comfortably to my arm I decided to transfer it during the match."

The criticism aimed at Valdes - who is out of contract at Camp Nou in 2014 - comes after the number one recently announced his intention not to sign a new contract at Barcelona, with speculation suggesting he could leave Spain this summer.

If that is the case, at least the player will exit on a high, after helping Barcelona reclaim the Primera Division title, though there celebrations were put on hold after Ander Herrera's late equaliser gave Athletic Bilbao a share of the spoils.




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