squad | 2015-05-28
Ter Stegen: I want the treble, each of us thinks the same way and we are confident
Signed together with Claudio Bravo to replace the huge gap left by Valdés, the German goalkeeper has had a spectacular season and he has the chance of winning his first two trophies as a starter for Barcelona in the coming weeks.
He was interviewed by the two big Catalan newspapers, you can read the interview below, and a complete analysis of ter Stegen's potential to become one of the best in the world here.
Q: What are your feelings before these two finals?
A: I feel good, we’ve worked hard to get to these finals and now we hope to be able to lift the two trophies.
Barça followed you insistently and your choice was to play for this club especially for games like these ones, right?
It was the reason I came here. I wanted to be part of a winning team and Barça gave me that opportunity. Now I want to win the titles after a year of hard work. We have the league and we have the chance to lift two more trophies. We all want to win and I’d love to do it in a club like Barça.
What’s the secret of being able to stay focused and deal with the pressure of being a Barça goalkeeper at 23?
I try to stay focused all the time and not think about what’s happening outside. More than that, I try to give the best I can for the team and for me and in the end that gave us the opportunity to win three titles.
Do you see yourselves winning the treble?
What we all want now is to win the Cup. Athletic is a great team, we have a great opportunity. The first step was the League title, but we want the Cup now to do the double and then we’ll think about the treble.
Are you worried about the fact that the fans are more focused on Juventus than on Athletic?
What the people do on the outside, I don’t know. What I can tell you is that the team is only thinking about the final on Saturday against Athletic. After that we can think about the Champions League, but winning the Cup would give us a good platform ahead of that final.
Did Luis Enrique have to motivate you for Athletic?
If you need someone to motivate you at this point, then you’re not doing things right. We’re all focused on Athletic.
Have you started analyzing them already?
The coach has showed us how they play, but you can never know everything. It’s a final and lots of things can happen. I think it’s good that we’re playing “at home” because we all know this stadium, we’re used to it and feel great on it. We’re going to prepare for the game more, but I think that it could be an interesting final.
Now that you’re about to play two finals, would you trade places with Bravo?
I’m always focused because if I am the one who gets to play, these will be the two most important games I’ve played so far in my career. If I have to trade places with him, I’d rather do it after winning the two titles.
What game are you expecting Athletic to play?
It’s going to be a very hard game; they’re going to give it their all. We have to be focused from the start to stop them, to not commit any errors and to rely on the support of our fans. But I’m optimistic.
Any special Athletic players that you’re worried about?
They have plenty of good players, but not one that can be a difference-maker like Messi. And we have others that can do that besides Leo: Ney, maybe Rakitic… We’re in a good situation and we have to take advantage of it.
Did Luis Enrique tell you that you’re going to be a starter in the finals?
In order to know who is going to play you have to ask the coach. I hope to play and do well in the game.
Not playing them would be a disappointment for you, wouldn’t it?
I’m not thinking about anything other than this Saturday and I expect to play the final, obviously. I’ve played most of the Cup games and all the Champions League games, but we’ll see. We all want to win titles and we all want to play.
Do you feel that you and Bravo have made people forget about Victor Valdés in your first season here?
I have a lot of respect for what Victor Valdés did for this club, he won incredible things, he was one of the most important players in recent years and I think that it’s important that people never forget what Victor did for this team. Now we’re in a different situation and I think that Claudio, Jordi and I are doing well so far.
Is playing for Barça very different from playing for any other team?
Here football is a philosophy, Barça is one of the best teams in the world and it’s a pleasure to play for this team.
Zambrotta once said that Valdés played better with his feet than he did…
In Germany it’s difficult to see La Liga, but I saw all of Barça’s games in the Champions League and people were proud of their team because of how it played. Here the ball is the protagonist.
I know that you’re focused on the Cup final, but I have to ask you about the Champions League. What do you think about Juventus?
The Champions League final is the next step after the Cup. Like against Athletic anything can happen, it’s going to be a difficult game but we want to win.
What does playing the Champions League final against a great goalkeeper like Buffon mean for you?
Buffon is a great goalkeeper, he’s been playing at Juventus for a long time and he’s won a lot with them. It’s going to be a complicated game because they eliminated Madrid, we know how they defend and how they attack, but first we have to focus on Athletic.
It seems like you’re never nervous, is that true?
If you work hard during the week, you’ll play well in games. I try to give the best in every game and see what I can do. My mentality is to play my game, do the best for my team and the important thing is that we all want the same thing.
Meaning that your tranquility comes from your performance in training every day?
Yes, it has to do with the work that all of us do. We have the same idea: to give our best and win titles.
You are considered the big favorites for the finals, do you want to take on that role?
I think that finals don’t have favorites. The game starts 0-0 and you never know what will happen, how you’ll be in the moment and we have to be prepared because it’s going to be hard.
You all got together on Monday evening for a special dinner in Xavi’s honor and you look very united. Is there a great hunger for winning the treble?
Yes, we all want to win it. We’re very motivated and we think we can accomplish our goal, it’s not just about one person. I want the treble, but each of us thinks the same way and we’re confident. Our feeling ahead of these two finals is very good.
Will it be strange to play at the Camp Nou with Athletic having more fans than you?
I’ve never experienced something like this, it’s confusing. But I want to help the team. We’ll play as we always do at the Camp Nou. We’ll feel at home, because this is our stadium and it will help us fight for the win.
Did you have a special motivation to prove your doubters wrong in the games you’ve played?
No, every game is important for me. I want to give the best I can without thinking about other things. My objective is to show what I have inside of me, be 100 percent. It’s what I ask of myself, it’s my feeling and that of the team.
Did you feel more secure after the game against City when you saved Agüero’s penalty and after the game at the Allianz?
That’s true. There were great games against City, PSG and Bayern. Games in which I gave my best and the team played well as a collective. That’s what I’m saying, I have to give everything to help Barça win.
Have you considered the fact that a penalty shootout might be needed to decide the titles?
It’s a final and you never know what’s going to happen. You have to be prepared for everything. The team will face the 90 minutes with the desire to score and win, but that doubt is there and who knows if we’ll have to wait for a shootout to decide the winner.
Is it the dream of any ‘keeper to be a penalty shootout hero in the Champions League like Oliver Kahn was in 2001 against Valencia?
I don’t care about being a protagonist in the victory. The team is what matters, the whole squad is important for the victory. It’s not about one person, every player plays a role and will give 100 percent for the win. We focus on the collective.
At the end of this first season with Barça, has it been better than you had expected?
It hasn’t been what I expected, it was a complicated year. I want to play every game, but Claudio has done great in the league. I didn’t play every week, but I know that my performances depend on what I do in training and that’s what I focus on. I gave the best for the team and every member of the squad wins the titles.
Even though you haven’t played in the league, the chance to win the Cup and the Champions League as a starter is kind of compensation, isn’t it?
I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m part of the team and I also won the league. In this team we all contribute, even though you feel more useful when you play. Again, Claudio has done a great job in the league and he has to be congratulated.
Would you like to play in the league next season?
Has there been tension between the goalkeepers or do you deal with it professionally?
That’s the perfect word. We have a professional relationship. The coach looks for the best answer for the team and Claudio, Jordi and I have to respect his decisions. The three of us win all the titles, in two weeks everything will be decided and we want those trophies.
Seeing it from your goal, is it reassuring to see such a motivated Leo Messi playing on your team?
Leo Messi is an incredible player and a great person. I don’t know what happened to him last season, but now I can say that he’s amazing on the pitch and we’re very happy to have him with us.
Luis Enrique’s relationship with the squad has evolved over the course of the season. Was it something that changed or just that the wins have improved the environment?
You have to understand that everything was new at the start. Time was needed for everything to fit together. He had to know how every player could perform and how it could all work. Once it all clicked on the pitch we’ve had great results which is what got us here.
Does Luis Enrique’s rigidity remind you of the German mentality?
No, he’s not like that. He’s direct and gives you his opinion on lots of things.
Is he a coach that likes to talk to the players?
He talks to us about game situations, about football.
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