Report: Jose Manuel Pinto came into the 2012-13 season knowing exactly what his role will be; backup to Victor Valdes in all competitions except the Spanish Cup where the experienced shot-stopper will be the starter.
In accordance to that season plan Pinto started all eight Copa del Rey matches, but he also started seven La Liga games and a single game in the Champions League. The seven league starts were the most Pinto has made in a single season since leaving Celta Vigo, while the appearance in the Champions League was just his fourth for FC Barcelona.
Similarly to Valdes, Pinto also allowed the most goals since joining the Catalan club, 16, but compared to Barça's first choice goalkeeper, Pinto allowed less goals per game. Pinto allowed exactly 1 goal/game while his teammate gave up 0.23 goals/game more.
Pinto's reflexes remain very good despite his advanced age. He even managed to show that on the biggest stage, in the Champions League, when he stopped a season high seven shots to earn Barcelona a point against Benfica. Playing behind a largely reserve team against a highly motivated Portuguese side Pinto had to be on his game to keep the opponents from scoring.
Throughout the season Pinto provided everything you can ask from your backup goalkeeper: he was a good teammate and performed at a high level whenever put in the lineup. However, when you asked Pinto to collect a cross or play the ball with his feet he left much to be desired. That being said, he was still less adventurous in those aspects of the game than Valdes. Interestingly, Pinto completed 85% of his passes, while Valdes was successful only 63% of the time. Pinto also didn't fail a dribble attempt like Valdes did against Angel Di Maria - and it wasn't for the lack of trying.
Moment of the season: When given the chance Pinto showed that father time hasn't taken away his shot-stopping abilities. In no game was this more evident than in the final match of the 2012-13 season, against Malaga. In 90 minutes Pinto made four saves, including two beautiful diving stops to hold the Andalusians to a single goal in what was a 4-1 victory for the Catalans.
Resumen de FC Barcelona (4-1) Málaga CF - HD - Highlights (via La Liga)
|Started on the Bench||43|
|BB Community Rating*||6.50|
*BB Community Rating represents the average rating (out of 10) Barca Blaugranes community members gave to the player for his performances throughout the season
Record with Jose Manuel Pinto in the starting lineup: 11-4-1
2013-14 Outlook: After signing a one-year contract extension in February 2013, Pinto is an apparent lock for the backup goalkeeper position. Even with the rumored promotion of Barça B goalkeeper Oier Olazabal to the first team Pinto should have no problems keeping his spot. But Oier will probably leave on loan anyway... It is expected that the former Zamora trophy winner will remain the first choice keeper in the Copa del Rey, a position he has held since Pep Guardiola was named Barcelona manager.
Next Up: Gerard Pique