Barcelona keeper Valdes to miss three weeks of action

Madrid, Feb 21 (DPA) Spanish league leaders Barcelona said Sunday that goalkeeper Victor Valdes is suffering from a badly twisted left knee and will be out of action for around three weeks.

The injury means that he might miss the March 8 Champions League showdown at home to Arsenal, who beat Barca 2-1 in the round of 16 first leg Wednesday.

Valdes, 29, missed Sunday’s 2-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao because of the knee injury. In his place was 35 year-old veteran Jose Manuel Pinto, who normally only plays in Spanish cup matches.

The late win kept Barca five points ahead of Real Madrid atop La Liga.

Remarkably, this is Valdes’ first injury since becoming Barca’s first-choice keeper in 2003, at the age of 21. Hs helped Barca to win four Spanish Ligas and two Champions Leagues, and was third-choice keeper for Spain at the 2010 World Cup.

Barca’s other injury victims at present are veteran captain Carles Puyol and young winger Jeffren.