Spain's keeper Valdes injured in South Africa game

Johannesburg, Nov 20 (IANS): FC Barcelona appear to have suffered another major setback as goalkeeper Victor Valdes fell victim to a calf injury during Spain's 0-1 defeat to South Africa here.

Valdes replaced Iker Casillas at the start of the second half but had to be replaced by Pepe Reina after going to ground in his penalty area in the 75th minute Tuesday, reports Xinhua.

Valdes was unable to remain on his feet and was in clear pain. Spanish TV commentators highlighted that he said to the medical staff that he had "torn his calf". If that is the case, it is a huge blow for Barcelona, given that despite being in the last year of his contract with the club and insisting he would leave at the end of the season, Valdes has been in the form of his career.

A serious calf injury would sideline him for at least a month leaving his substitute Jose Pinto to take on first team duties. The 38 year-old has made only 18 league appearances since joining the club in 2008 but has played regularly in the Copa del Rey, showing himself to be an experienced and reliable deputy, although perhaps without Valdes' speed and authority.

He will now most likely play in Barca's home game against Granada this weekend and in the difficult trip to Athletic Club Bilbao in San Mames the following weekend.

Barcelona are also without Lionel Messi after the striker damaged his hamstring in the league game against Betis 10 days ago. Messi will be sidelined for six to eight weeks along with the probable absence of Valdes which will be a big loss for coach Tata Martino.


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