Victor Valdes recovered from “the worst moments of his life” to be an influential figure for Middlesbrough in the Premier League, according to head coach Aitor Karanka.
The 34-year-old former Barcelona and Spain goalkeeper suffered a serious knee injury during the final year of his contract at Camp Nou and his subsequent spell at Manchester United turned into a nightmare after he was exiled by then-manager Louis van Gaal before being sent on loan to Standard Leige.
Given a second crack at England’s top flight by Karanka, Valdes has established himself as Boro’s first choice and impressed during Saturday’s goalless draw at Arsenal.
“I’m very pleased because Victor, in the last two or three years after his injury, lived the worst moments in his life,” Karanka told a post-match news conference.
“When I signed him I told him that he had to recover his smile and his happiness to play.
“For him to show everyone how good he is, it is really important. Not just on the pitch, in the changing room – especially in this really tough week for us – his attitude has been really good for us.”