Let’s be clear right off of the bat.
Barcelona are lucky to have two goalkeepers of the highest calibre within their first team ranks.
That’s right, two. Not one.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is right up there, in my opinion, with the David De Gea’s and Jan Oblak’s of this world, as the very best custodians in the business.
Jasper Cillessen might not have attained that level just yet, but my goodness he continues to impress in every game.
Have tweeted this almost too many times to count, but once again, it is ridiculous that Cillessen is a back-up goalkeeper.— EiF (@EiFSoccer) December 11, 2018
When you consider just what little first-team action he’s had over the last two seasons, his powers of concentration are quite remarkable.
From an international perspective, it’s no wonder the Netherlands are enjoying something of a renaissance, because with Cillessen behind them, the Dutch know they’re in safe hands.
There were a number of saves against Tottenham that were worthy of the plaudits the keeper received after the game, each one different to the other.
Spreading himself to stop Son from scoring what seemed like the easiest of goals in the first half was followed up by a full-length parry from Christian Eriksen’s curler.
Although it would’ve been flagged for a foul by Harry Kane had it gone in, a point-blank save from Eriksen’s venomous half volley was probably the best of the bunch.
HIGHLIGHTS ⚽ @JasperCillessen knew how to stop them! https://t.co/dHu8I2VgVv— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 12, 2018
Though on the one hand Cillessen’s excellence between the sticks means that Barca can sleep easy, on the other it represents a real problem for the club.
They can’t realistically expect a player of his calibre to be sat bench warming for 90 percent of the season, for too much longer.
Unless the status quo changes within the next few weeks, then there’s some certainty to Cillessen moving to pastures new next summer, and it really would be a travesty were that to happen.
Ernesto Valverde is the loser whichever decision he makes.
Imagine having Jasper Cillessen as your backup goalkeeper. Brilliant tonight against Tottenham https://t.co/bfEkmmYFPA— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) December 11, 2018
Prior to Valverde’s tenure, Ter Stegen was making similar noises to what the Dutchman is now, as he was unhappy at playing second fiddle to Claudio Bravo.
There is a cogent argument to be made of course as to why having a ‘cup’ keeper and a different ‘league’ keeper doesn’t work.
However, rarely has there been a situation at a club where they’ve had two such outstanding exponents within their ranks.
Arguably, it’s Cillessen’s form that’s keeping Ter Stegen on his toes, as genuine competition for places always will.
After two years of trying, however, one can be sympathetic if no matter what the Dutchman does he still can’t get in the starting XI on a more regular basis and therefore decides to up sticks.
It’s a lose, lose situation frankly.