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Jasper Cillessen deserves praise and respect for his time at Barcelona

The best of reserve keepers

Real Madrid CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

In all likelihood, Jasper Cillessen will be on the move shortly.

A swap deal with Neto from Valencia is almost complete, with the team from Mestalla paying Barca in the region of €30 million euros for the Dutchman’s services. I for one am sad to see him depart.

It’s completely understandable why he would want to go of course, but he was the best of understudies to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

For goalkeepers, therein lies the problem.

If you’re an understudy to a player in any other position, the chances are you’ll get decent chances to impress thanks to a mixture of injury, poor form or coach’s choice.

That rarely happens with custodians, especially those at the bigger clubs.

A keeper of Cillessen’s talent was never going to accept being second choice long term, and there’s only so far you can go being a ‘cup keeper.’

In his time at the club, he amassed just 32 appearances over three seasons, and he was brilliant in many of them.

He came to the club as a 27-year-old knowing that he would, at least initially, play second fiddle to the German.

Though goalkeepers generally peak later than their out-field counterparts, it was still a risk for someone who had international recognition to think about. And yet he still made the switch without hesitation.

For that he deserves our endless respect and gratitude.

He departs having never really been given a long enough in the side to give Ernesto Valverde a headache when it comes to team selection, and did show time and again that he could always be relied upon.

The only truly bad game that I can recall from him was this past season away at Eibar, and when you think how little he’s been called upon over his three seasons at Camp Nou, that’s pretty remarkable.

Valencia are certainly getting themselves value for money, and though it’s of little consequence, at least Barca will have more than doubled their money and can use it to help balance the books.

If nothing else, much as it may pain some of us to do so, we should be magnanimous toward Cillessen and wish him the very best.

The chance he will be afforded at Barca’s Copa del Rey conquerors is long overdue and he deserves it.

For this consummate professional who never stepped out of line and who was well liked in the dressing room, it’s a real shame that the Blaugranes couldn’t find a way to make things work.

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