Published On: Sat, Aug 20th, 2016

Valdes calls Van Gaal 'father figure' despite Manchester United exile

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Victor Valdes has emerged from a year of neglect at Manchester United without any ill will toward the manager who banished him from the team.

Dutch boss Louis van Gaal famously forced the Spanish goalkeeper to train on his own and play with the reserves, even though he had recovered from a traumatic knee injury.

But Valdes – who’s now found employment in the Premier League with Middlesbrough – revealed in an interview Friday with Sky Sports that he still considers Van Gaal a “father figure.”

He said: “I don’t have any bad words for Van Gaal or Manchester United. They helped me through my injury and the manager gave me my chance as a footballer at Barcelona and then again at United.

“He’s like a father figure to me. I don’t want to remember the last six months in a bad way – for me he is in the top. We are still friends and there is no problem between us.”

The 34-year-old admitted he considered quitting the sport as a result of his predicament with United. A short loan spell at Standard Liege to start 2016 didn’t do much to revive his career, as he made just six league appearances with the Belgian side.

Valdes’ fall from grace came into sharp focus when images in Belgium appeared to show the three-time Champions League winner negotiating a muddy construction site on the way to his dressing room.

Despite his negative first experience in English football, Valdes decided to try again. He became one of Boro’s nine summer signings, making his club debut last weekend against Stoke City.

“I want to thank (Boro manager) Aitor Karanka for saying such nice things about me. He says having me here is a privilege but the privilege is all mine,” the decorated Spaniard said. “Playing with a newly promoted club means I have a different objective in my career but I still always want to go out there and win games.

“I am grateful to Karanka for the chance.”

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