José Manuel Pinto has told his teammates this will be his last season with Barcelona, according to the newspaper Sport. The keeper, who signed in the winter of 2007-08, is out of contract at the end of the season and has decided not to renew.
Pinto has not impressed when filling in for the injured Victor Valdes and his latest blunder came on Wednesday night in the Copa del Rey final. He should have been able to keep out Angel Di Maria’s low strike early on, which gave Real Madrid the lead against Barcelona and then Gareth Bale’s shot went through his leg to give Madrid the cup.
Some days ago Barcelona’s sports director, Andoni Zubizarreta, admitted that both the club and the player had reached a final decision about the keeper’s status. If his departure is finally confirmed, along with that of Valdés, Barcelona would in principle need to sign two goalkeepers this summer to replace them. However that would only be possible if FIFA reverse the transfer ban that prevents the club from signing players until June 2015.
If the transfer ban is upheld, then Barca will be forced to go into next season with the virtually unknown Oier Olazabal between the sticks. Olazabal is a 24-year-old who was signed to Barcelona’s youth academy at 16-years-old from Real Union.
He made his debut in 2008 in the Copa del Rey and has played one La Liga match since, but has mainly featured for Barcelona B.