Marc-Andre ter Stegen is one of the Barcelona’s best players and has become more of a leader in recent years, while his performances between the sticks have seen him rack up 100 clean sheets, a feat that he achieved after the Blaugrana’s 4-0 win away at Dynamo Kiev.
The German goalkeeper joined Barcelona in the 2014/15 season and, in that time, he has become a star. In his first two campaigns at the club he had to be patient while Claudio Bravo played in LaLiga Santander, yet he still managed to keep 10 clean sheets across the Copa del Rey and Champions League in his debut season. Ter Stegen then recorded eight clean sheets in 2015/16.
It was from the 2016/17 campaign onwards where his statistics began to truly rise, with Bravo’s departure to Manchester City playing a key role in this. Ter Stegen kept a clean sheet in 17 games in 2016/17, followed by 24 in 2017/18, 19 in 2018/19 and 17 in 2019/20. Tuesday night against Dynamo saw Ter Stegen not concede for the first time in his fourth appearance of the season.
This current season saw Ter Stegen have to wait before being able to record his 100th clean sheet in a Barcelona shirt, having undergone knee surgery in August. The 28-year-old, who recently renewed his contract at the club until 2025, has shown incredible consistency during his six years in the Catalan capital, with Jasper Cillessen and Neto having failed to displace him in the post-Bravo years.
Thanks to his reflexes, intuition, good play on ball and his aerial ability, amongst other things, Ter Stegen has racked up a century of clean sheets. As a consequence of his performances, and the team as a whole, Barcelona went on a 39-game unbeaten run between the end of the 2016/17 and the start of the 2017/18 season.
Ronald Koeman has no doubt that he is his No.1, which is why he was immediately reinstated upon his return from injury, despite Neto having performed admirably. With Ter Stegen, the Dutch coach hopes to recover some of the defensive security in LaLiga Santander that has characterised Barcelona in recent seasons and has not yet occurred in this current campaign. For example, the Blaugrana have conceded nine goals in eight games in the Spanish top flight so far this season.
FC Barcelona – La LigaPresented his presidential project
Emili Rousaud, one of those hoping to become Barcelona president in January, has revealed his project if he elected, with the former club director stating that he would re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.
The Brazilian currently has a lawsuit open against the club, yet Rousaud wants to leave this in the past and try to bring him back to the club, despite Barcelona’s questionable financial state. “We’re going to sign two top players, one of them is Neymar,” Rousaud declared.
“We are working to bring him back to Barcelona… if he withdraws the lawsuit he has against the club.” In terms of the other signing, the Catalan was very vague but did note that they are in contact with someone. “We hope to be able to announce soon the name of the other big-name player we want to bring,” he said. “It will not leave anyone indifferent. We have a direct line to the player.”
He also proposed changing the name of the Camp Nou, so long as the Barcelona members agreed to it. “We will hold a referendum to change the name of the stadium to Camp Nou – Leo Messi,” Rousaud revealed.
Rousaud is clear that he wants to bring some former Barcelona greats back to the club. “If we win, we want to count on Xavi [Hernandez], [Andres] Iniesta and [Carles] Puyol and give them a strong link with the club, the team and La Masia,” he stated.
Jordi Alba was given some rest as he begun Barcelona’s 4-0 win away at Dynamo Kiev on the bench on Tuesday night, and he has admitted that the Catalan team need to be more consistent.
Barcelona have struggled for form in LaLiga Santander and, most recently, they lost 1-0 away to Atletico Madrid to leave themselves 12 points behind leaders Real Sociedad. “I’ve been here for nine years and it’s always the same,” Alba said in his post-match interview. “When we don’t win, you talk a lot. We’ve lost points because we haven’t had any luck. There are a lot of people and the work has been very good, from the players to the coaching staff.
“We all find it hard to win; that’s because there [has been an increase in the] level. We have to be more consistent. “Until the Christmas break, we have games that we have to win and we will try.”
Alba was also very complimentary about another full-back in the Barcelona squad, Sergino Dest, who opened his account for the club on Tuesday night. “He is very young, he comes with a lot of desire,” Alba stated. “And because of his characteristics, he fits in perfectly with Barcelona. He has a high level, too.”
FC Barcelona – La LigaRaul Varela gives his opinion
NO, David Sanchez. Barcelona do not play better without Lionel Messi, as you suspected on Tuesday that someone would say on Wednesday. Don’t be fooled by the four goals scored against Dynamo Kiev, a team that would struggle to compete with the likes of Espanyol and Real Mallorca for promotion to LaLiga Santander.
It will take time to see if Barcelona play better without Leo. What we do know, what is already tested, is that with this Messi, Barcelona play worse than ever. He is not the problem but neither is he the solution, as he has been all his life. It is enough to take a look at the numbers. More wins in Europe than in LaLiga Santander, having played half the number of matches. Rare. As rare as Messi’s behaviour. How much does he care about going on for a quarter of an hour against Real Betis and winning the match on his own as much as touching the ball worse thanRomerito against Atletico Madrid.
This is the Messi system that reigns supreme on Koeman’s blackboard and that does not function. That’s why he’s not happy; that’s why he is pondering a possible way out; that’s why no pre-candidate has thrown himself into an open grave to draw a smile on his face; that’s why there are those who paint blackboards with Pedri and Ansu Fati at an inter-war economy club; and that’s why it makes me remember all those who got on your boat and said without blushing that Cristiano Ronaldo would retire sooner rather than later because he was only a goalscorer and relied on his physical attributes, which always come to an end before their playing days are over.
So, that’s the debate. One is breaking records and the other is reading self-help books.
FC Barcelona – La LigaScored on Tuesday after surprising interview
Barcelona need the best from their players if they are to turn their situation around in LaLiga Santander, having already secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League. One of the players they will be looking to is Antoine Griezmann.
The French forward is one of the most-discussed players in the squad, particularly after his sit-down interview with Jorge Valdano, but he responded on Wednesday night in the perfect way, scoring a goal after coming off the bench to wrap up a 4-0 win for Barcelona against Dynamo Kiev.
Ronald Koeman was without a series of injured players, with Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto the latest to be ruled out of action, while Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong did not travel with the squad so that they could have some much-needed rest. As such, even though it only ended up being a cameo appearance for Griezmann, the fact that he scored – and marked it with a dancing celebration – could be a sign of things starting to change for the better.
The truth is that, since his 120 million euro move from Atletico Madrid, the real Griezmann has only appeared in a few matches. He became one of the best players in the world in the Spanish capital, scoring 133 goals and providing 50 assists in his five seasons at the club. However, since he joined Barcelona in the summer of 2019, there has been more talk about his lack of understanding with teammates, namely Lionel Messi, and the way in which he hasn’t quite adapted to Barcelona’s style of play.
During the aforementioned interview with Valdano, Griezmann admitted that he understood the criticism he has faced, made clear that he has a good relationship with Messi, and stressed that the best version of himself will be seen on the pitch from now on. The 29-year-old has a great opportunity to truly show Barcelona what he can do, especially against the backdrop of Messi potentially leaving next summer and Ansu Fati being out for the next four months with a knee injury.
Griezmann has scored one goal in the Champions League and two in LaLiga Santander so far this season, which are numbers that are well below what we have come to expect from the 2018 World Cup winner. There are no excuses for a player of his calibre. Now, Griezmann’s next few games could go some way to determining his future at the Camp Nou.
There was late drama in Turin as a last gasp Alvaro Morata header earned Juventus a 2-1 victory over Ferencvaros and a place in the last 16 of this season’s Champions League.
The visitors from Hungary actually scored the opener through Myrto Uzuni, when he stuck a 19th minute cross past Wojciech Szczesny.
Oleksandr Zubkov had a long-range effort deflected wide moments later, but Juventus then stepped it up and Cristiano Ronaldo equalised 10 minutes before half time with a powerful left-footed drive into the bottom corner.
In the second half, Juventus pushed for a second. Yet they were halted twice by the post as Federico Bernardeschi and then Alvaro Morata were denied by the woodwork.
But, Morata had the last laugh as he turned Juan Cuadrado’s cross over the line for the 2-1 scoreline.
A strong second half powered by a Martin Braithwaite brace earned Barcelona a 4-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv in Champions League Group G action on Tuesday night at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv.
After a rather poor first 45 minutes from the visitors, Sergino Dest got Barcelona rolling by scoring his first Barcelona goal, becoming the first ever United States player to score for the famed Catalan club.
Braithwaite then followed that up with a pair of goals before Antoine Griezmann tacked on a late score to make it four wins in four matches in the Champions League for Barcelona, a stark contrast to their struggling domestic campaign in LaLiga Santander. The result also secures Barcelona’s place in the last 16.
Ronald Koeman trotted a completely revamped starting XI, with just three usual starters in the mix – goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, centre-back Clement Lenglet and midfielder Philippe Coutinho. Meanwhile, fringe players like Junior Firpo, Carlos Alena and Braithwaite were given opportunities and centre-back Oscar Mingueza made a first-team debut.
Barcelona might have had the majority of possession, but they were far too slow when attacking inside the Dynamo area. Playmaking duties fell to Coutinho, but the Brazilian was met time and again with a sea of blue-and-white shirts, sending the rest of the Barcelona players scrambling trying to regain possession.
Dynamo weren’t mustering much either except for a counter attack right before the half time break when a Carlos de Pena effort required a save from Ter Stegen.
Barcelona got their breakthrough in the second half with some sharp passing between Dest, Pedri and Braithwaite that ended with Dest running onto a pass and firing a right-footed shot into net for a 1-0 lead.
The goal injected Barcelona with a jolt of energy and soon enough it was 2-0 through Braithwaite, with a Pedri corner kick getting flicked on by Mingueza and the Danish striker arriving at the far post to finish.
Koeman’s first three changes came midway through the half, with Pjanic giving up his spot to Riqui Puig, Griezmann replacing Coutinho and Jordi Alba coming on for Lenglet.
Barcelona were in full control and they added a third to put the nail in the Dynamo coffin, with Braithwaite converting from the penalty spot after he had received a foolish push from behind in the area from Popov.
Koeman handed out another two debuts by finally giving Matheus Fernandes a run-out, with the former Palmeiras man coming on for Pedri, followed later by Miami-born Konrad de la Fuente on for Trincao, making him the second US player in Barcelona history.
The night was then capped by Griezmann getting a badly needed goal in second half stoppage time to complete the 4-0 scoreline after some excellent link-up play and a good finish from the Frenchman.
0.- Dynamo Kyiv: Bushchan, Karavaev (Popov, min. 60), Zabarnyi, Mykolenko, Kadziora, Shaparenko (Lednev, min. 71), Garmash (Andriyevskiy, min. 59), Shepeliev (Baluta, min. 83), Buyalskiy, De Pena (Supriaha , min. 71), Verbic.
4.- Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Lenglet (Jordi Alba, min. 66), Mingueza, Junior; Pjanic (Puig, min. 65), Alena; Pedri (Matheus Fernandes, min. 73), Coutinho (Griezmann, min. 66), Trincao (Konrad, min. 83), Braithwaite.
Goals: 0-1, min. 52: Dest; 0-2, min. 57: Braithwaite; 0-3, min. 70: Braithwaite (p); 0-4, min. 91: Griezmann
Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia). Cards: Pjanic (Min. 16) for Barcelona, Popov (Min. 69) for Dynamo
FC Barcelona – La LigaExpressed admiration for his compatriot
Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico has waxed lyrical about Barcelona star and compatriot Lionel Messi, who he believes people should enjoy while he is still playing.
The two players now play together for Argentina, and the Ajax left-back provided an insight into what it’s like to share a dressing room with Messi. “When you see him play you are shocked,” Tagliafico told Ajax’s official media. “Then you meet him in person and say, ‘How can he be so normal with how great he is?’
“It’s something I have to enjoy because he’s also coming towards the end of his career.” When Tagliafico was a 19-year-old playing for Banfield, he was able to meet another legend of Argentinian football in Diego Maradona. “I was able to have a training session with the seniors because there was an injured player,” he explained. “He was coaching and I remember him shouting at me, ‘OK, kid, press’. I will never forget it.”
Prior to joining Ajax, Tagliafico learnt his trade at Banfield and Independiente, two experiences he is thankful for. “It was a very nice period that made me grow a lot as a player,” he noted. “I was at the club [referring to Independiente] that have won the Copa Libertadores the most times. “It was very important and I had one of the best years of my career there