Former Barcelona and Manchester United keeper Victor Valdes retires
Former Barcelona and Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes has retired from football and deleted his social media accounts.
Valdes, 35, has been without a club since leaving Middlesbrough last summer following their relegation to the Championship.
Mundo Deportivo reported at the time that he would retire. However, there was no official announcement until, on Jan. 1, Valdes posted a picture on Instagram of a sunset with the caption: "Thanks for everything."
The former Spain international then deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts, as he had suggested he would do in 2015.
"I don't enjoy the fame," he told RAC1 two years ago. "When this all ends, I'll be with my children, teaching them about life. I hope when the lights go out it will be difficult for people to find me."
Sources contacted by ESPN FC have confirmed Valdes' retirement from football, and Barcelona posted a tribute to him on social media.
👏👏👏— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) January 3, 2018
¡Gracias por todo, Víctor! pic.twitter.com/WHOlfmTraE
Valdes joined the club as a 10-year-old in 1992 and went on to make 535 appearances for the first team, winning six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues.
He took the unexpected decision to leave in 2014, with an agreement reached to move to Monaco for free when his contract expired.
But an injury put paid to that switch and left Valdes without a club for several months before he was reunited with former Barca coach Louis van Gaal at Manchester United.
He was never able to dislodge David De Gea from the No. 1 spot at Old Trafford, and after a loan spell at Standard Liege joined Middlesbrough in 2016.
Valdes had have a number of offers to continue his career at the beginning of the season, but instead set up Crazy4fun TV in July, an international production company with bases in Barcelona, London and Abu Dhabi.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.