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Valdes: Spain weaker without Villa, Puyol

SoccerNews in La Liga 6 Jun 2012

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Victor Valdes said the absences of David Villa and Carles Puyol at Euro 2012 is a major blow for Spain.

Villa, Spain’s all-time record goalscorer failed to recover in time from the fractured tibia he suffered last December, while the veteran defender was forced to undergo knee surgery last month.

Their absences will be keenly felt according to Valdes, who believes his Barcelona colleagues will be sorely missed by the defending champions.

“They are two very important losses because of their importance to the team in terms of the amount of international matches that they have played and how much they have contributed in recent years,” the keeper told BBVA.com.

“They are also very important in the daily group.”

Despite their no-show at the tournament, Spain are being widely tipped to become the first nation on the continent to successfully defend their title.

However, Valdes insists Vicente Del Bosque’s men are not thinking that far ahead, as their sole focus remains Sunday’s Group C opener against Italy.

“All the teams that are here are great teams in their own right and everyone will stand up,” he said.

“Now we must go step by step. Our first rival is Italy and we will try to beat him and then look to the next game.

“Yes, it is true that Spain are one of the teams to beat because we are the champions of the world and also because of our footballing philosophy.”

Valdes is likely to have to play second fiddle to Spain captain Iker Casillas for the duration of the tournament but he is not envious of his Real Madrid rival taking goal.

“I have nothing but praise for his career, in terms of what I have seen from working with him day after day and also when I have had to face him,” he added.

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