New Manchester United signing Victor Valdes wowed his new teammates by delivering an “unbelievable” speech ahead of the Red Devils’; Under-21 clash with rivals Liverpool on Monday night.
Valdes was making his debut for the club since signing on a free transfer this month and the Old Trafford reserves ended up running out 2-1 winners at Leigh Sports Village, thanks to goals from Paddy McNair and Nick Powell.
The 33-year-old looked composed despite being beaten by a Jerome Sinclair strike jet before half time, but the most memorable moment of the evening was the team talk he gave the players before the game had started.
Manchester United’s Under-21 manager, Warren Joyce, revealed that Valdes asked him to allow the veteran three-time Champions League winner take over the responsibility of addressing the squad in the dressing room.
"I was going to do something but Victor said 'Guardiola used to do this’" - Joyce
Joyce told BBC Sport that the ‘keeper asked for a video to be played detailing the life of Rick Hoyt, a paraplegic boy whose father did marathons, triathlons, Ironman triathlons and other sponsored runs, all pushing his or pulling his son along.
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“The lads are in the room listening to this - it was unbelievable. I was going to do something but Victor said 'Guardiola used to do this’. He's a very humble guy and a model professional,” said Joyce.
Valdes has been out since the end of last season after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament while playing for Barcelona. At that time he had already agreed to leave Camp Nou at the expiration of his contract last summer and join AS Monaco on a free transfer.
His injury complicated things, however, and the Ligue 1 side’s decision to scale back their spending significantly meant they attempted to pull out of the deal. Reports suggested Valdes disputed this and trained with Manchester United until the issue was settled with Monaco, leaving him free to join Van Gaal’s squad.
David de Gea is currently undisputed number one at Old Trafford, but there has been plenty of speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid this summer. Valdes could quite easily have been brought in as a replacement for a possible De Gea departure this summer.