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  • By Alessandro Schiavone at Saint Mary's Stadium

Guaita: Valencia? Football changes quickly but I am happy at Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita admitted that he wants to return to Valencia at some point in the future.

But the 35-year-old maintained that he still sees his foreseeable future at Palace, where he has a contract running until summer 2023 with the option to extend it for another year.

Guaita, a through and through Valenciano, came through the club’s ranks before making his first-team debut aged 21 in October 2008.

Despite dreaming of going back to where it all started one day, the Spaniard spoke of his family’s happiness in London where they have been settled since his move from La Liga side Getafe in July 2018.

He dislodged Wayne Hennessey and has been his team's undisputed first-choice stopper in the last four years, contributing to the sporting stability of the Eagles with his excellent displays, terrific saves and leadership.

Speaking to Capital Football after his side’s 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday he said:

“I want to stay at Crystal Palace. I have contract here, plus one [more year].

“Me and my family are very happy here, but I don’t know what will happen in two, three in four years.

“My family and friends live in Valencia and football changes quickly but now I am happy to be at Crystal Palace.

“Me and my wife are happy in London and my children want to stay here, this is the most important.”

It was at Valencia where a teenage Guaita was taken under the wing of Spain great Santiago Canizares.

Legendary ex-keeper Canizares, who won 46 caps for Spain, was his country’s first-choice at EURO 2000 and was central to Valencia’s success in the early 2000s, when the club reached successive Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001.

With Andoni Zubizarreta having retired in 1998 and Iker Casillas yet to burst onto the scene, Canizares was the best Spain had to offer at the turn of the millennium.

Guaita joined Valencia’s academy aged 13 in 2000 and there has only ever been one goalkeeper he’s called idol since.

He said: “For me, my idol is Canizares. He always helped me when I was a young player in the Valencia academy. He was very important for me and still to this day my hero is Canizares.”

Palace fought back from 1-0 down to seal all three points against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday.

When asked if winning with the last kick of the game “feels sweeter”, Guaita said:

“Yeah, it’s very important. Wilfried Zaha is an amazing player and it was important for Crystal Palace to fight back and get the three points to stay in the Premier League.”

With Palace 1-0 down, Ebere Eze opened his account for the season after stabbing home Nathaniel Clyne’s cutback.

Guaita was full of praise for the 23-year-old wizkid but for him “every” Eagle has shone this season, underlining that Premier League safety was and remains the club’s main target going into next season.

He continued: “Eze also played a good game. I think he’s a good player but every Palace player has performed well this year.

“This season is nearly finished but it will be good for next season, staying in the Premier League is the most important thing for Crystal Palace.”


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