Valdes stuns Barca by refusing to renew contract

Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes stunned the Liga leaders by informing them he will not renew his contract when it expires next year before they even had a chance to make an offer, officials said Friday.

The 31-year-old player's representatives met with the club on Thursday and told them of the "irrevocable decision not to renew his contract, thus avoiding entering into financial discussions," Valdes' agent Gines Carvajal said in a statement.

Barcelona sports director Andoni Zubizarreta said the club had been expecting to discuss renewing the contract for their first-choice keeper.

"We were holding the first meeting to initiate the process for renewing Victor's contract," Zubizarreta told Barca TV.

"The meeting began with us expressing the club's desire to extend his contract because we consider him to be a top class goalkeeper.

"But before we could make any proposal or discuss anything, his agent said the decision was already made and meditated, and that he will not be staying any later than June 30, 2014. It is an irrevocable decision."

Valdes has been at Barcelona since 2002.

His Facebook page was flooded with comments from fans, some angry at the news, others pleading with him to stay, asking why he wanted to go, or just wishing him the best in the future.

Despite being taken by surprise by Valdes' decision, Barcelona urged fans to show respect for their keeper.

"We are asking you to continue supporting him and to encourage him as much as you have done throughout his career," Zubizarreta said.

"He is committed to this jersey until June 30, 2014 and will defend the goal with everything he has and knows.

"Meanwhile, we will work together to see what the next steps should be, along with him and his agent, to work together to deal with this situation that arose yesterday."

Barcelona are currently 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid at the top of the Spanish league, and a massive 18 points ahead of perennial rivals and defending champions Real Madrid.

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