AITOR KARANKA AND MIDDILESBROUGH PART WAYS ON A MUTUAL AGREEMENT

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Aitor Karanka’s spell as Middlesbrough manager has ended with the club the lowest scorers in the Premier League.

Aitor Karanka has been sacked by Middlesbrough with the club in the Premier League’s relegation zone following a winless run in which they have taken only four points from a possible 30.

In a statement, Boro said: “Both parties have agreed that it is in the best interests of the club to make this change.” Steve Agnew will step up from his role as assistant head coach to take control of the first team.

A 2-0 defeat at Stoke two weekends ago has left Boro second from bottom, three points from safety and without a league win in 10 attempts since mid-December. They have failed to score in the past four of those matches and have managed only 19 goals in 27 league games this season.

Karanka, who oversaw promotion last season, has had a strained relationship with some players. Stewart Downing and Patrick Bamford were left out of the squad for last weekend’s FA Cup defeat by Manchester City, with the manager saying he needed “18 fighters”.

Karanka’s criticism in January of the club’s supporters and the atmosphere at the Riverside proved divisive and some fans called for his departure at Stoke.

The Spaniard was appointed by Middlesbrough in November 2013, when the club were 16th in the Championship, five points clear of the relegation zone.

“The club would like to thank Aitor for all his hard work over the past three and a half years and for the success we’ve had during that time,” the statement continued. “We wish him all the best for the future.”

Karanka said: “I’d like to thank Middlesbrough for a wonderful opportunity and the players, staff and all the people at the club who I have worked with. I’d also like to thank the fans for their support. This club will always hold a special place for me and I wish everyone connected with Middlesbrough football club the very best for the future.”

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Víctor Valdés Arribas

Víctor Valdés Arribas (born 14 January 1982) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for English club Middlesbrough.

Valdés made his first team debut against Legia Warszawa in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League on 14 August 2002. The early part of the 2002–03 season saw Valdés play deputy to Argentine international Roberto Bonano, but the arrival of Radomir Antić as the new manager in January 2003 saw regular first-team opportunities for Valdés.

In the 2003–04 season, he emerged as first-choice goalkeeper, and in the 2004–05 season, he played in almost all of Barcelona’s matches, helping Barcelona to their first league title in six years. He also won the Zamora Trophy as the best goalkeeper in Spain that season.

He is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the club’s history, having appeared in 535 official games for the club and won 21 major titles, notably six La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League championships. Valdés also won the Zamora Trophy a record five times. He currently holds the club records as goalkeeper with most appearances in the league and in official competition, breaking Andoni Zubizarreta’s records during the 2011–12 season.

On 23 October 2014, Manchester United offered Valdés the chance to complete his rehabilitation from a knee injury and to work his way back to fitness with the club. He was offered a contract by the club in January 2015, signing an 18-month deal, with the option of a further year on 8 January, as backup for compatriot David de Gea.

On 23 January 2016, Manchester United announced that Valdés would be moving to Belgian club Standard Liège on a six-month loan deal. He made his debut a week later in a 2–0 win at OH Leuven in the Belgian Pro League. On 20 March, Valdés won the 2016 Belgian Cup Final, beating Club Brugge 2–1. His loan spell was cut short on 29 April after the club decided to allow more youth players the opportunity to play in games at the end of the season.

On 7 July 2016, Valdés signed a two-year deal on a free transfer at Premier League newcomers Middlesbrough, managed by compatriot Aitor Karanka.

 

Valdés made his full international debut in 2010 and earned 20 international caps. He was part of the Spanish squads which won the 2010 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 2012.

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