Victor Valdes has admitted that he feared for his wellbeing after being completely isolated from the Manchester United first-team squad by Louis van Gaal.
The Spanish goalkeeper was publically lampooned by Van Gaal after allegedly refusing to follow his infamous philosophy. He was told he could go in the summer but failed to seal a move before the transfer window closed.
That left Valdes stuck at Manchester United's Carrington training ground, but the Dutchman was determined to make sure he had no influence – negative or otherwise – on the players he intended on using.
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As a result, the former Barcelona star was forced to train alone and was forbidden from interacting with first-team stars. He even returned to the training ground dressing room to find his locker emptied and relocated to another room.
Eventually, Valdes sealed a move to Belgian side Standard Liege and he is now free to speak out on what exactly happened to him at United. He said he felt "very alone" and feared that, should he succumb to serious injury, no one would come to help him.
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"What if I were to hit the post and were to lose consciousness, and if I swallowed my tongue?" Valdes told El Pais in a recent interview. It was a question he asked academy coach Alan Fettis, the only man permitted to train Valdes.
"Alan replied: 'I've got my phone in my pocket, I'd call and they'd come to help you.' I told Alan: 'I feel very alone.'"
Having been mistreated by Van Gaal, you would expect Valdes to feel rather bitter towards the veteran coach, but so deep is their history that he says he still holds no grudge against him.
"I'll always be thankful. Deep down, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here."
Rancour? Not at all," the triple Champions League winner added.
"He gave me the chance to debut at Barca, he picked me up when I didn't have a side and he gave me the chance to recover from my knee injury. I'll always be thankful. Deep down, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here."
"I was training alone [at United]. Do you know what is that? Here [at Standard] I am happy just to be in the dressing room. For me [Standard] are the best club in the world."
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