Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has opened up on his relationship with Xavi and defended the manager from his critics.
The stopper enjoyed a superb campaign last time out, keeping 26 clean sheets in La Liga, as Xavi guided Barca to the title in his first full season in charge.
Ter Stegen was asked about suggestions that the team’s strong backline meant Xavi had betrayed Barcelona’s DNA and hit back instantly with a strong response.
“That’s complete nonsense. Every philosophy has to evolve. When Xavi played himself, the quality of the Barca team was much higher compared to the other teams,” he said.
“Since then, everything has become more balanced, especially in the physical area. That’s why you have to find different solutions now than back then. Especially at the beginning, he tried to give us a certain stability - and that was very necessary.”
Xavi played alongside Ter Stegen before departing for Al Sadd and the goalkeeper also revealed the two had kept in touch after he moved away from the Camp Nou.
“After his departure from Barcelona, we stayed in touch. We have a special connection, a very open relationship,” he added.
“When he expresses sporting criticism, I am very open to it. That is important for our relationship. I can separate private and professional matters. I think we Germans are generally good at that.”
Source | Spox
Ter Stegen is back in action tonight for Germany in a friendly against France. The team will be managed by Rudi Voller following Hansi Flick’s dismissal.