The feud between Louis van Gaal and Victor Valdes appears to be escalating at a rather rapid pace, with the Manchester United goalkeeper hitting back at his manager's surprising recent claims with a not-so-subtle post on Instagram.
Former Barcelona stalwart Valdes moved to Old Trafford on a free transfer in January, yet made just two Premier League appearances for the club last season as he played second fiddle to compatriot David de Gea.
Ongoing speculation relating to De Gea's possible defection to Real Madrid led many to believe that the 33-year-old would likely become United's number one next term and agent Gines Carvajal even strongly refuted claims that his client was set to join Turkish Super Lig newcomers Antalyaspor in an interview with Spanish daily AS.
Despite those encouraging signs, though, Valdes's future was thrown into considerable doubt earlier in July after he and defender Rafael were both omitted from Van Gaal's 26-man squad for the club's International Champions Cup campaign in the United States.
The Spaniard responded to that snub by taking to social media to post a picture of himself giving the thumbs-up signal after a training session accompanied by the caption: "After a Hard Training Session this morning, i am working hard for this Season ! Come on You Reds !!!!."
Van Gaal subsequently issued a stinging rebuke to Valdes during a press conference in Seattle yesterday (15 July), confirming the player would be sold this summer after he apparently declined to play for the reserves.
"Last year, he [Valdes] refused to play in the second team and there are other aspects you need as a keeper at United," he told reporters, as relayed by BBC Sport.
"When you are not willing to follow those principles, there is only one way and that is out. It is a big disappointment. It is a pity because we have given him the opportunity to rehabilitate, gave him a contract and then he is fit to play."
Valdes returned to Instagram today (16 July) to seemingly reject those suggestions, posting a simple hashtag with the word "respect" alongside four pictures relating to the U21 matches in which he did feature against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
United begin their pre-season tour against Mexican outfit Club America at CenturyLink Field on 18 July before matches against the San Jose Earthquakes, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.