Manchester United's new goalkeeper Victor Valdes finally played for the first time since rupturing his cruciate ligament in March 2014 earlier this evening, in the glamorous surroundings of the Leigh Sports Village.
Valdes turned out for United's under-21 side at the home of rugby league club Leigh Centurions, a world away from the bright lights of the Camp Nou where the Spanish stopper made his name.
The 33-year-old faced Liverpool's youngsters in front of just over 5,000 fans and his first action was to pick the ball out of the net just before half-time, beaten at his near post by a powerful strike from Reds starlet Jerome Sinclair.
'Highlights vine shows how quiet his debut was'
A strong United side by reserve standards also featured forgotten midfielder Anderson and prospects Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett.
McNair and Nick Powell both got on the scoresheet to make sure United ran out 2-1 winners, on a quiet night for Valdes that afforded the free signing the relative luxury of easing his way back into life between the posts over 90 minutes.
Cambridge replay offers chance for full debut
Now that the World Cup winner has a full match under his belt surely Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is looking for the right opportunity to give his only January signing a competitive bow?
Next Tuesday's FA Cup fourth-round replay against Cambridge United looks tailor-made to afford Valdes his first taste of life as a United player at Old Trafford, although on paper so did the first match last Friday.
Other than a few pieces of routine work United fans saw very little of a player with huge experience at the highest level, but more than anything it was hugely pleasing for both player and club to see something of a transfer gamble come through a full game unscathed.
Check out a few glimpses of Van Gaal in action for the Red Devils in a short vine at the bottom of the page.
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