With the Primera Division trophy now safely under lock and key in the Camp Nou trophy cabinet, Barcelona can look back on what has been a remarkable season in Spain’s top flight. With several individual and team scoring records tumbling over the course of the campaign, it appears that the men at the other end have been made almost redundant in a team that exhibits such a free-flowing and attack-minded mentality.
The man who often does not often enjoy the glamour and glitz associated with playing in Pep Guardiola’s team is goalkeeper Victor Valdes. Barca’s number one is poised to win his fourth ‘Zamora’ trophy, the goalkeeping equivalent of the ‘Pichichi’ trophy, awarded to the man with the best goalkeeping record over the course of the season.
Valdes will almost certainly pick up his third ‘Zamora’ in a row barring a mathematical football miracle. He currently boasts a phenomenal set of figures where he has conceded just sixteen goals in thirty two matches, leaving him with a goals coefficient of 0.5 compared to nearest contender Iker Casillas of Real Madrid who has a coefficient of 0.94 and figures of thirty two goals conceded in thirty four matches.
Should Valdes succeed in keeping out Malaga in the Catalans’ final game of the league season, he will walk away with the ‘Zamora’ with a 0.48 goals coefficient. So, effectively, the man between the sticks for Barca will have conceded one goal in a little over every two games: a remarkable achievement. Had he not let Levante’s Felipe Caicedo draw his side level against the Catalans in the game that mathematically sealed the title, Valdes would be on course to equal the record for best goals coefficient in a league season. Instead, the man between the sticks will have to be content with the second best record, behind Deportivo la Coruna’s Paco Liano, who’s exploits in the 1993/94 season earned him a goals coefficient of 0.47.
Even if he does not manage to keep a clean sheet against Malaga, Valdes will still record his best ever goals coefficient statistics, smashing last year’s record of 0.63, a record that has no doubt been significantly aided by the fact that la Blaugrana have conceded just 10 goals at home all season. If records are indeed on Valdes’s mind then he can rest assured that he has already surpassed the feats of Ricardo Zamora after whom the trophy is named.
Barcelona-born Zamora earned three titles in the 1920s and 1930s as a player with Espanyol and Real Madrid. Barca’s current stopper requires one more title to equal the best-ever haul of five ‘Zamora’ titles achieved by the club’s legendary goalkeeper Antoni Ramallets, who was crowned five times between 1952 and 1960.
Astonishingly, the man with such a glittering goalkeeping record did not play one minute of Spain’s victorious World Cup campaign in South Africa last year despite earning a call-up.