Valdes: No bad words for Van Gaal or United

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Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes holds no hard feelings toward Louis van Gaal or Manchester United after being frozen out of the club last season.

Valdes arrived at United on a free transfer in 2015 but after just two Premier League appearances, the three-time Champions League winner was quickly banished from the senior team having been accused of refusing to play for the Under-21 side.

Given a lifeline by Aitor Karanka at newly-promoted Middlesbrough, Valdes is enjoying his football again, however the 34-year-old insisted he is still a fan of former United and Barca boss Van Gaal.

"I feel like a professional footballer again after all those hard days in Manchester," Valdes told Sky Sports.

"It's difficult to explain, but it was hard being alone. Sometimes at United I thought 'I don't need this', but I am a fighter and a professional.

"This was the biggest fight of my career and I won it. The easy way out was to end my career but now I feel like a professional goalkeeper again.

"I don't have any bad words for Van Gaal or Manchester United. They helped me through my injury and the manager gave me my chance as a footballer at Barcelona and then again at United.

"He's like a father figure to me. I don't want to remember the last six months in a bad way - for me he is in the top. We are still friends and there is no problem between us.

"I want to say in a public way thank you to the U21 coach Alan Fettis - without him I may have given up football. He made me keep going and stopped me when I was thinking about bringing my career to an end."

After making his Middlesbrough bow in the 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City last week, Valdes is back in action against Sunderland on Sunday.