Juan Mata admits it is a "shame" to see Victor Valdes exiled from the Manchester United squad but admits he has no idea what really went on between the goalkeeper and manager Louis van Gaal. Valdes, who signed an 18-month contract with United in January, is unlikely to feature for the club again following his fallout with Van Gaal, who insisted the player would be sold in the summer transfer window.
The Manchester Evening News claimed at the time the spat emerged after the Spanish goalkeeper refused to play for United's Under-21 ranks. The shot stopper has since started the season as a spectator in the stands, having not been given a squad number and left out of the club's official squad photograph.
Mata, who is currently with the Spain squad ahead of European Championship qualifiers against Luxembourg and Ukraine, insists however that Valdes remains determined to compete at a high level.
"It is a shame what is happened with him as he is a great goalkeeper," Mata told reporters, Onda Cero report. "He wants to compete and has proved himself as a goalkeeper. I don't know what happened between him and Van Gaal, that is something only they can say."
Valdes had been expected to leave United following Van Gaal's public condemnation and was linked with moves to Turkish sides Antalyaspor and Besiktas. A return to Spain to join Sevilla was also suggested by Spanish newspaper Sport only for club president Pepe Castro to immediately come out and deny talk of a move for the ex-Barcelona custodian.
Despite being frozen out of the team, with seemingly no way of finding a return, Valdes has remained upbeat, frequently thanking United supporters during his exile through his various social media platforms.