ter Stegen: Playing for Barça is special, but I think I was well prepared

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ter Stegen: Playing for Barça is special, but I think I was well prepared

Marc André ter Stegen starts his second season at FC Barcelona wanting to honor the number 1 he wears on his shirt and become an indisputable starter for the team. He doesn’t hide the fact that he would like to play more and he is willing to win the coach’s confidence so that he can play in the league too. The goalkeeper was interviewed by Mundo Deportivo and offered his thoughts about the upcoming season.

Do you like Real Madrid?

Well, I’ve learned that I said “I don’t like Real Madrid”, but in fact what I said was “we don’t like Real Madrid a lot”. It’s the Clásico and everyone knows the level of that rivalry.

Is playing for Barça what you expected it to be?

It was my first transfer and you have to adapt to a new culture and a new way of playing. Playing Barça’s style is special, but I think I was well prepared.

What were your best and worst moments last season?

I prefer not to talk about the bad moments, I would only say that I’d like to play a bit more. Everyone wants to play, not just me, but I think that when I was on the pitch I did well, I was prepared and focused. I made some mistakes, but everyone does. I had good and bad moments. The best were obviously the titles.

Did your teammates have any hazing ritual for you when you came to the dressing room?

There were some. It’s funny to me that to this day some call me “the German” instead of calling me by my name.

Who is your best friend in the squad?

I don’t know if there’s one specific person, I get along with everyone. Maybe I have a better relationship with Ivan Rakitic or Thomas Vermaelen, but I think I get along well with everyone.

The goalkeepers of other teams have to face Messi two or three times per season but you probably face him regularly in trainings. What’s the feeling of facing Leo?

We have a lot of quality up front, that’s true, but we also have good defenders and midfielders. The quality of the team is very high. Having Messi as an opponent doesn’t scare me, but I am aware of his quality.

How is your life in Catalonia?

I have a normal life, with my girlfriend who is studying in the University. We do many things, but it’s separate from football, it’s my private life.

Your favorite spot?

Castelldefels. Barcelona is full of people and Castelldefels is more quiet, at least during the year. I like the beach, I can go where I want…

Do people recognize you on the street?

There’s no way to escape that. It’s normal. If I go for a walk or to shop for clothes or food, people always recognize me. Sometimes it’s not the best moment, but I understand that people want to take a picture with an FC Barcelona player.

Are you at a conversational level in Spanish?

I think so, but I prefer to express myself in English to explain what I want to say better. Obviously, German would be better, but English serves me well to better explain what I want to say.

What are your objectives for this season?

We have to do things like how we did them last season. There are more competitions to play and of course we will fight for those titles.

What do you prefer: playing La Liga games or Copa and Champions League games?

The coach decides.

Does cutting your vacation short give you any advantage over Claudio Bravo?

I don’t know. I just wanted to prepare well for the season, because it’s going to be a long one. I want to be in good form and the rest is up to the coach.

Did you understand the decision he made last season?

He knows why he decided in the way he did. We never knew the reason, maybe you should ask him, not me. I have to say that Bravo had a good season. In the first games he didn’t concede at all so you couldn’t say anything. With the three titles we won you can say that the coach’s decision was the right one, but I’m not thinking about last season, I’m thinking about the future. There’s a new season and we’ll see what happens.

There are three goalkeepers and the two that have played the most have shown great levels of performances. Is it difficult to strike that balance?

If you work you can improve. There’s a lot of competition in the squad, I don’t think that it’s just about the goalkeeper spot. Everyone wants to play and I think that it’s positive to see everyone trying to improve their performances.

What are Bravo and Masip’s best qualities?

I’m more worried about mine, but I think that the three of us have the level required to play here, there’s good competition. I won’t say who is good at what, because it depends on the situation, but the three of us are at a great level.

How do you think you should convince Luis Enrique that you deserve to be a starter?

I would never say anything to the coach, it’s not my way of doing things. I don’t like talking, I like working. I only want to say that I would like to play as much as possible. At the end of the day you have to do the best you can and the coach has to decide. If he has a good ‘feeling’ with you he will give you his confidence. That’s what I want to win. I think that last season I won a lot of that confidence. We’ll see what happens now.

Did you learn a lot from Unzué?

Yes, we talk a lot, if he sees something wrong he will correct us. It’s always good to have one or two points of view, even 10 if possible and choose what is best for you.

Did you see the Copa América?

Some games, but I wasn’t completely focused on the competition.

Did you see the final?

No, I couldn’t watch it.

Here’s a difficult question: who were you rooting for? Messi and Mascherano, Neymar and Alves, or Bravo?

It’s easy to say the wrong thing here, isn’t it?

I said it’s a difficult question.

I think that it’s good that they had the chance to win the Copa América. I think that Chile deserved to win it because they played a great tournament and in the end I am glad that one of our own won the title.

Well played. Are you obsessed with playing for Germany’s first team?

We’ll see. The most important thing is to have the chance to play as much as I can and with the national team it’s the same thing as with Barça: the coach decides. It would be good to be chosen by him.

What does a young player from Mönchengladbach think when he sees that Barça fills a stadium in Los Angeles and it seem that they are the home team?

It’s incredible that Barça manages to gather such a big crowd so far away from home. It’s a nice feeling and it gives you confidence for the future because you think that you are in the right place.

Did you congratulate Bartomeu for the election result?

Yes, I had to. It’s another six years, right?

Yes and now you have six titles you can win in a season. Do you think you will be able to?

Right now we have this opportunity. First we have to play Sevilla and then against Athletic, in three consecutive games, right? And at the end of year we have the Club World Cup. We have to try.

An easy question to finish: do you suffer from jet lag?

A bit. It was harder at first, less so now. It’s improving. When I’d get accustomed to the timezone, we’d have to return home and then I’d have problems adapting to Barcelona.


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Source: Mundo Deportivo