It’s hard to believe that before the start of this season there were culers that were calling for Marc-Andre ter Stegen to be replaced.
On this forum as well as many others, he was ‘past it,’ ‘not good enough’ and ‘shocking.’ Other comments that are too spicy to print here.
The German may have had a dip in form it’s true, but no more so than the team in general.
The measure and mark of a great player is how you recover from sustained periods of below par showings and how quickly you can put the past behind you.
That applies to success too if you wish to remain at the very top of your profession. Those that stay at the summit do so because they’re never satisfied and always want more.
Ter Stegen’s comeback this season has been a real two fingers up to anyone who still doubted whether he was of a required level to be Barcelona’s undisputed number one.
Given how many times he has saved the Blaugranes this season, it’s not even a question these days.
There isn’t any other goalkeeper in world football that I would rather have in goal for my club than the custodian that is there at present.
This season’s title win is as much about his excellence between the posts as it is about Ronald Araujo’s leadership, Robert Lewandowski’s goals, Alejandro Balde’s emergence, Pedri’s incredible skill and Gavi’s work-rate. Perhaps more so.
In this Barca Blaugranes poll, those of you who read the columns here agree that Ter Stegen has been the player of the season.
Wouldn’t it be great for him to underscore the 2022/23 campaign with two records that might never be beaten.
Although Barca have let in a couple of sloppy goals of late, Ter Stegen can still break the record for most clean sheets in a season, and least amount of goals conceded.
With four games left, Ter Stegen has let in 13 goals in La Liga, still two less than the Chelsea side of 2005 under Jose Mourinho, and five less than the all-time Spanish top-flight record.
He is a whisker away from setting the new clean sheet record too. His 25 is just one behind Depot’s Francisco Liano.
Whether or not he etches his name in history, his contribution to Xavi’s first title as coach cannot be understated and shouldn’t be forgotten.