Barcelona shot-stopper Victor Valdes: Gerard Pique is the best centre-back in the world

The experienced goalkeeper has played down the former Manchester United defender's Champions League absence as he labels him the best player in his position
Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes has stated his belief that team-mate Gerard Pique is the best centre-back in the world.

The towering defender has recently been struggling to find his best form and was left out of the Barca squad for their Champions League round of 16 clash away against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this week.

Nevertheless, Valdes has no doubts about Pique's abilities, and is full of praise for the centre-back.

"There's no need to go on about his omission against Leverkusen. He's the best centre back in the world and he's always shown that," Valdes said in a press conference.

"It was just the coach's decision the other day. I haven't noticed any change in him. He's working harder than ever and he is enthusiastic about things."

Pique is expected to return to the match squad for this weekend's La Liga match at home against Valencia.

Since November, Goal.com has been publishing exclusive extracts from Graham Hunter's highly-anticipated new book, 'Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World'. The very last extract, which is published on Friday, looks at Andres Iniesta's risky return from injury in the 2009 Champions League Final and how he was described by Wayne Rooney as the 'best midfielder in the world'. Don't miss it!