Abraham P. Romero

Updated Saturday, January 27, 2024-02:10

The career of

Álvaro Valles

(La Rinconada, Seville, 1997) was never like this. Never. About success,


, spotlights and cameras. Even the minutes. 90 every night under the sticks of a professional team. Before the arrival of

Francisco Javier García Pimienta


Unión Deportiva Las Palmas

, the Sevillian goalkeeper did not know what any of that was. He lived in the shadow of others, focused on touching the ceiling of professional football with his fingertips. Don't break it with blows like now.

Valles is the


of the

Spanish League

. The league of

Kepa, Lunin, Ter Stegen, Oblak or Unai Simón


Carlo Ancelotti

's rotation in


's goal

, something that does not seem to be changing in the short term, makes


the best placed to win the

Goalkeeper of the Year

award . They have scored

17 goals

this season, compared to the 13 that the white team has received between Kepa and Lunin, their rival this afternoon at the

Gran Canaria Stadium

. He improves

Unai's 21 at Athletic, Remiro's 21

at Real Sociedad

, Oblak's 23 at Atlético and Barça's 24 between Ter Stegen and Iñaki Peña. He is an unexpected Zamora. He also for those who know him best.


26 years old

, Valles has

just automatically renewed

his contract with Las Palmas until

June 2025

. He had to play 20 games to extend the agreement for another year and he has achieved it. The board of the island team is breathing easy by sealing his relationship with the goalkeeper for a few more months, but that condition of his contract already explains that

Álvaro has never been indisputable

, nor did his club expect him to be. The clause was a do-or-die that in the end has been fulfilled. Stars do not need a minimum number of games to extend their contracts. And Valles, the second goalkeeper in the League who makes the most saves and the best average grade of a goalkeeper in all of Europe, didn't seem like it. Now he already is.

He stops 3.78 shots per game

, slightly less than Villarreal's Jörgensen (4.32), and is, according to the statistics platform


, the goalkeeper with the best average score of the season in Europe: 7.12, surpassing the Italian

Di Gregorio

, from


, and Lunin, competition this afternoon in the League.

Interest from Madrid?

Spanish football is fighting for him right now, knocking on the doors of its representatives and Las Palmas to find out their wishes.

Betis and Sevilla

, who one day had him in their quarry and now regret it, slip possible contacts. Even

Real Madrid


, who will lose Kepa in the summer when he ends his loan and has a contract with Lunin until 2025, seems to be timidly interested. "

Many things are coming out

and many people have asked, because he is also young to be a goalkeeper, but he has a lot of

mental stability to not go crazy ,"

Rodolfo Orife

, Valles' agent and representative on

You First

, explains to this newspaper



Success is his head

," he explains about a footballer who has never believed anything because he has never been a star or a top-elite goalkeeper project. "

He comes from a humble family in Seville

, very hard-working, and that stability has been key throughout his career," he adds. And this explosion in Valles would never have been possible without García Pimienta, who arrived in Las Palmas in January 2022, just a year and a half ago. «

The coach has seen something that no one had seen

, a vision that no one had had, especially in a difficult context, with the team playing for promotion. “It has a lot of merit,” praises Orife.

An injury, an opportunity

Until García Pimienta landed, Valles was one of them. He went through the

Seville quarry

when he was very young and did not last long, moving to the neighborhood with his father. He grew up in

Don Bosco

, a humble club in the area, and later, when he was able to collaborate with the representation agency, he found a place in the


youth team . In the surroundings of Villamarín he did not have minutes and ended up on loan at


in the Third Division before leaving, once his contract in the green and white ranks ended, for the Las Palmas subsidiary. He was 21 years old.

On the island, everything is the same. «

He has never been a starter

. Neither in Betis B nor in the Las Palmas subsidiary », explains his agent. But everything changed with the injury of Raúl Fernández, the first team's starting goalkeeper, which opened the window for a Valles who was already thinking about a change of scenery again.

«It had things, but

it had never had as much continuity as now

. It has improved a lot, too. He worries about watching videos, cuts of matches, training at home... You constantly see his performance," admits Orife.

The almost impossible dream of the Euro

On the horizon, the almost impossible dream of the

Euro Cup

. Luis de la Fuente has two of his goalkeepers clear for the German tournament:

Unai Simón and Kepa

. And third place seems destined for

David Raya

, Arsenal goalkeeper. Would the coach leave LaLiga's Zamora at home? We will see. Kepa's situation in Madrid does not seem entirely clear either and some of the other alternatives, such as

Robert Sánchez or Remiro

, have had injury problems or are not having their best season.

At the moment, the Spanish championship wall is in

Gran Canaria

. Unexpectedly for everyone, even for him, who does not ask for more money or more attention now that he is doing well because he knows from experience that normal is something else. This afternoon, big duel against Madrid.