The Germany international considered his future after a slow start to life in Catalonia – but insists he is now happy and optimistic about the future
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has revealed that he considered leaving Barcelona in 2016 but is now fully settled and enjoying life at Camp Nou.
The Germany international moved to Catalonia from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2014 following the departures of Víctor Valdes and Jose Manuel Pinto.
Ter Stegen spent his first season behind first-choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, appearing only in the Copa del Rey and Champions League.
Bravo was first-choice for much of the following campaign too, with Ter Stegen making just seven La Liga starts alongside his appearances in Europe and domestic cup competitions.
And Ter Stegen has revealed that he considered his future at the club at the end of that season, having grown increasingly frustrated at having to share goalkeeping responsibilities with Bravo.
He told Goal and DAZN: “Basically, Claudio [Bravo] and I both managed to deal well with the situation [of competing for the No.1 shirt]. He is a great goalkeeper who earned the place back then. The coach did not have to change because he had a goalkeeper in the league who showed good performances.
“Of course, you start to ponder [your future] because playing football is the most important thing. It would not have been better if the coach had said: ‘You’re playing in the league now and [Bravo] in the other competitions.’ That was not what I wanted and in 2016 came the situation where I had to think about leaving Barca.
“The club was up to date all the time. Claudio and I dealt with the situation openly and said we did not like it. At some point there is the moment when it is no longer tenable. Then Barcelona clearly made a decision and decided for me. I think I have paid it back so far.”
Ultimately it was Bravo who would end up leaving Barcelona, joining up with former Blaugrana boss Pep Guardiola at Manchester City in August 2016.
That left Ter Stegen clear to become Barcelona’s first-choice goalkeeper, going on to make 46 appearances in all competitions the following season.
With his No.1 shirt now secure, the 26-year-old insists he is now happy and enjoying life with the Spanish giants.
“It’s wonderful in Barcelona. I love the city. My wife is happy too. We have everything we need here. Of course, I miss the family from time to time, but they have always the opportunity to visit me.
“I have another three and a half years contract. How it looks then, I cannot say now. But what I can say now is that I enjoy the current situation and enjoy going to stand on the pitch every day.”
Barcelona face Real Madrid in La Liga on Saturday with the Catalans having claimed an impressive 3-0 win over their great rivals in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final clash at the Bernabeu.
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