Barca's 'Keeper Quandary
05 March 2013
The red card waved at Victor Valdes after his mental breakdown last weekend has left Barcelona in the lurch.
Valdes was given his marching orders after the final whistle, following Barca’s second Clasico defeat in a week to Real Madrid.
He was incensed at the referee’s failure to award a last-minute penalty to Barca, which would have given them the chance to score an equalising second goal.
Two yellow cards in quick succession were shown to Valdes, as he protested by reportedly telling ref Perez Lasa that he had '"screwed up" and "should be ashamed" of himself.
The 31-year-old shot-stopper, who is in his last season at Barca, will now be suspended for between two and five games, depending on the outcome of the Spanish Football Federation’s investigation into the incident.
Valdes, who had skippered Barca to defeat at the Bernabeu, is likely to miss the Catalan club’s weekend La Liga tie against Deportivo La Coruna as his suspension kicks in.
That means reserve ‘keeper Pinto will be in goal, but if the veteran gets injured or sent off, Barca are in trouble.
At the same time as Valdes was sent off, Barca B ‘keeper, Oier, was sent off for a professional foul against Las Palmas, so he is also suspended this weekend.
Barca B’s second choice ‘keeper, Jordi Masip, is injured, so that means the ‘keeper on the bench for the senior Barca team against Depor could their fifth choice shot stopper, 19-year-old Migual Banuz.
According to Soccernet, 17-year-old Joseph Fabrice Ondoa, who was discovered by Samuel Eto’o’s academy and of whom much is expected, is also in contention to make the bench.
Whichever junior ‘keeper is called upon to back Pinto up will surely be under pressure.
It could be up to him to help put stuttering Barca back on a winning track.
The Blaugrana are still 11 points clear at the top of La Liga, but another loss will put the cat amongst the pigeons, and Valdes is surely ruing his loss of control.