Report: This season Jose Manuel Pinto was counted upon more than in any other season since joining FC Barcelona. Until this year the most appearances he made in a single season was in 2010-11 when he stood between the uprights in 17 games. This year he obliterated that personal best, mostly thanks to a pair of injuries to Victor Valdes, and appeared in 26 matches for Barça.
Pinto has throughout his career been a "loose cannon", and this year was no different. More than any year before Pinto took on opponents one-on-one and more often than not dribbled past them in style. It also probably ended a couple Barcelona fans' lives due to heart attacks as well as shaved off several years from the surviving fan base.
Pinto's first action of the season came on 23 November in La Liga against Granada after Valdes suffered his first injury of the season. Pinto remained Barcelona's No. 1 goalkeeper in La Liga and the Champions League until 5 January and during that time, a span of six games, Pinto was able to prevent the opponents from scoring more than one goal in all but two, a win and a loss.
Even though Pinto gave up starting duties just days after the New Year, he remained busy throughout January as Barcelona's Copa del Rey campaign kicked off. With Pinto as the starting goalkeeper the Catalans advanced to the final with relative ease, winning seven matches as drawing one, allowing only four goals along the way. The story in the final was a bit different as Barcelona were unable to lift the trophy partially due to Pinto's inability to make a save or two that needed to be made.
With Valdes being forced to be subbed off on 26 March against Celta Vigo, Pinto once again stepped into the No. 1 goalkeeper shoes and started the last eleven matches of the season. Pinto didn't perform badly in those games, but he left fans with a feeling that Valdes could've made some of the saves that Pinto wasn't able to. Pinto's reflexes remained very good throughout the season, but it looked like he on some plays strayed out of position which gave the opponents too much of the net to shoot at.
Still, Pinto can't be viewed as the sole reason for Barcelona's lack of success this campaign as a team effort is needed for a team of this caliber to finish without a major trophy.
Moment of the season: Pinto's best game of the season came against his former team, Celta Vigo. He came off the bench to replace the injured Valdes and stopped all five shots that he faced which included a brilliant double save in the second half.
Resumen | Highlights FC Barcelona (3-0) Celta de Vigo - سلتيك برشلونة - HD (via La Liga)
Though this play was as a close second:
Barcelona's crazy keeper Pinto goes on a dribble vs Elche reminiscent of Lionel Messi 2014 (via Lol Vids HD)
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Record with Jose Manuel Pinto in the starting lineup: 15-5-5
2013-14 Outlook: Like Valdes, Pinto is also leaving the Catalan club after spending six and a half years with Barcelona, after he joined the club in January 2008 on loan from Celta Vigo. As a 38-year old goalkeeper Pinto probably won't attract much interest from big clubs, but he could easily again land a back-up job at a Primera Division side. Retirement at this point doesn't seem to be an option for the former Zamora Trophy winner, but wherever Pinto ends up rest assured that his hair will be in immaculate condition.