Barcelona keeper Victor Valdes has praised his counterpart at arch-rivals Real Madrid, calling Iker Casillas "impressive" ahead of the sides' key Spanish league clash on Saturday.
Both Valdes and Casillas were part of the Spain squad that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa. Valdes was the third-choice keeper behind number one and captain Casillas and number two Pepe Reina of Liverpool.
"What a keeper! It is one thing to have him in front of you and another to see him on television. You already have the intuition that he is really good," Valdes said in an interview published Monday in spanish daily El Pais.
"I had never had the opportunity to work with him before and it was during the training sessions that you really see the capabilities of a footballer. Iker is impressive. The power he has, the confidence," he added.
Defending Spanish champions Barcelona are at the top of the league table, eight points ahead of nearest rivals Real with seven matches left to play ahead of their "classico" on Saturday at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
The match could be the first of four meetings between the two sides in less than a month with a Copa del Rey final on 20 April and the strong possibility of the two sides clashing again in the Champions League semi-finals at the end of April and beginning of May.