So, it’s official.
On Monday of this week, Barcelona brought the curtain down on Victor Valdes’ swift return to the club, sacking him for what they considered to be conduct unbecoming for one of their coaching staff.
Always known as a spiky individual, one has to ask the question as to whether the club’s appointment of their former goalkeeper was destined to end in disappointment?
After all, he was never going to toe the party line.A need for the current board to want to appeal to a wider Barcelona public, by offering jobs to ex-players who helped bring about the club’s most successful era, hasn’t really worked.
Carles Puyol refused their offer of employment, Xavi Hernandez is waiting until Josep Maria Bartomeu is no longer president before taking up an expected coaching offer, and Andres Iniesta hasn’t really made any noises about returning soon despite being offered a ‘lifetime’ job with Barca.
Valdes, along with Eric Abidal, are two that had accepted posts, but it’s also important to recognise that the Frenchman had previously aligned himself with former president Joan Laporta.
Indeed, Abidal was at Laporta’s party headquarters in the days leading up to the last club elections, and stood fully behind the former chief.
When the idea was first mooted to bring Valdes back, it was received positively because he’d been doing such a good job at Moratalaz.
However, it was soon clear that he wasn’t really the right fit for Barca’s U19 side.
One of the first tournaments that Valdes’ team were due to play in was the Otten Cup, but he withdrew the side because he didn’t consider the rest period between games was adequate.
It was a unilateral decision that didn’t sit at all well with the club hierarchy.
Patrick Kluivert, a former team-mate of the keeper and now head of the club’s La Masia academy, dealt with the problem head on, as he did when Valdes decided he would play a 4-4-2 system rather than a preferred 4-3-3.
Not playing certain individuals also brought Valdes into conflict with the Dutchman, with the former steadfast in his belief that, as coach, he alone picked the side without interference from above.
There were other petty issues, but the final straw came when the U19A side played against Inter Milan in the UEFA Youth League.
Half an hour late getting to the Johan Cruyff Stadium meant that the club were handed a UEFA sanction. Valdes’ explanation? He wanted to give his team talk in another part of the Ciutat Esportiva, away from prying eyes.
Just three months after the fanfare over his appointment, Valdes is no more, and perhaps the board will now think twice about who they bring in, in future.