Víctor Valdés spoke at today's press conference with the same composure that he shows when defending the Barcelona goal. This week he broke Miguel Reina's record for the longest run without conceding a goal for FC Barcelona, but Valdés has never been one for individual milestones or awards, and said that if there is any reason why he has reached such a peak of excellence, then that reason is Pep Guardiola.

Respect for the boss

Valdés came to Guardiola's defence following the stories in the press that Ibrahimovic has heavily criticised his former manager in his biography. "They taught me that the coach should always be respected in a team and that he is the person to obey. And I did that all the way through to becoming a professional ... I'll be his pupil as long as he is next to me. He set me on the road to victory and I hope to stay with him until I retire."

Learning each day

Valdés says that before Guardiola came to the club "I was not a goalkeeper that could see things tactically. I have improved tactically, and with my footwork, and I want to keep winning things every day, and am still learning new things in training. And it is only him who has done that for me," he said.

Valdés added that "he should stay here all his life. He has shown that he is the main secret behind this team's success."

Strong against falsities

Valdés, being one of the four team captains, also spoke about the rumours in the press that Messi and Villa don't get on. "It's totally false. You just have to look at the way they behave on and off the pitch," he said. "They are always saying these things to try to destabilise us whenever things are going well. We are the first who have to be strong when we know that these things are completely false."

Now for Athletic Club

Valdés is more concerned about the forthcoming trip to San Mamés. "It is important to win that game. We know how intense Athletic are under Bielsa, they create pressure, they play without inhibitions." He expects an intense encounter against a team he says "are always really nice and lively."

Team above awards

Victor Valdés is not a big fan of awards, even though eight of his teammates are on the shortlist for the Balon D’Or. “These things have never been important to me. It is more important to play for Barça every Sunday and to try to win cups. If that happens, then I’d be quite happy not to be on any lists … I have always felt the love of my fans, and that’s what really matters. And I have always tried to return that love by doing things well.”

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