Report: José Manuel Pinto - our beloved backup goalkeeper and Real Madrid fighter. This was a very calm season for Pinto as he barely got into any altercations - just a minor one in the 2nd leg of the Supercopa de España (at least his involvement in the scrap was minimal).
It's not easy being the backup goalkeeper at any club but at a club like FC Barcelona it is even more difficult. Why? Because of the involvement the keeper has in play build-up. At most clubs the only job the goalkeeper has is to stop the shot but that, as we know, is not the case in Barcelona. Here the goalkeeper must not only be on the same page as the defenders when the opposition is threatening but also when the keeper has the ball and has to play short passes to his defenders.
That was not always easy for Pinto and at times he still looks uncomfortable doing so. But sitting on the bench for the majority of the season would have the same effect on any keeper not blessed with terrific footwork. However, this facet of the game has improved remarkably in the veteran's time with the Blaugrana.
Pinto's shot stopping ability has never been questioned - you don't win the Zamora Trophy for making silly sunglasses - and he again didn't disappoint. He made several terrific saves on the way to yet another Copa del Rey final. There Pinto didn't have a whole lot to do but regardless he maintained concentration throughout the game to steer away all threatening attempts.
All in all Pinto had a very solid season. He did everything that was expected off him, namely stop every stoppable shot and didn't make any noteworthy mistakes, and for that he was rewarded by hoisting the Copa del Rey trophy. Can you expect anything more from your backup keeper?
Inder Methil's view: Well, the joker of the lot. Pinto has, to be quite frank, surprised me. This year I made sure to keep an eye on Pinto in the very few games he played and I must admit he was a lot better than I expected. Pinto has lived up to his Zamora trophy winning reputation as far as shot stopping is concerned (and of course taking his age as a factor). It's his footwork which really isn't impressive but that said, very few keepers around the world are expected to be able to pass the ball accurately and so consistently than Barca's. The obvious problem is that opponents know this as well, and hence try to pressure Pinto when he has the ball.
But like Pep Guardiola said when Pinto was coming under a lot of scrutiny "he got us to three finals" and that's really all there is to it. If all that isn't reason enough to consider Pinto as a capable second keeper for Barca, then there is his importance as a part of the squad (those sunglasses of his alone are worth it all in my opinion) and moreover, every time there is a fight during a Clasico, rest assured Sergio Ramos will be keeping an eye on how far to push Messi around lest Pinto decides to join the fight. As far as this season is considered, I think Pinto did really well with some of his saves standing out and if Pep were to review it, he would probably say "he won us the Copa Del Rey".
Moment of the season: Pinto made several terrific stops this season, like the one on Angel Di Maria in the Copa del Rey, but none of his saves impressed me enough to warrant the Moment of the Season. And it's not even the glasses he made. It's a goal he scored. Many of you have probably never seen it because it was scored in a charity futsal game but it was a thing of beauty.
Gol de Pinto (Barça de Pep 5-4 Barça de Tito) (via Champions2013)
|Started on the bench
Record with José Manuel Pinto in the starting lineup: 11-2-0
2012/13 Outlook: Pinto will be back as the backup goalkeeper as he signed a one year extension mid-season, but this year he will have some competition. Barcelona B keeper Oier Olazábal will be promoted to the first team. How new coach Tito Vilanova will handle this situation is unknown as it is unknown if Pinto will retain his duties as the Copa del Rey goalkeeper.
Next Up: Carles Puyol