Barcelona Must Not Dismiss Claudio Bravo as No. 1 Despite Error vs. Napoli

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Barcelona Must Not Dismiss Claudio Bravo as No. 1 Despite Error vs. Napoli
Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press
Claudio Bravo should not be written off.

Claudio Bravo's Barcelona debut was going swimmingly until it all fell to pieces with one handling error, but it would be foolish to judge him on that. 

The Chilean goalkeeper had made an excellent save at full stretch in the first half of the club's friendly against Napoli and seemed like he was heading for a clean sheet, when Blerim Dzemaili intervened.

The Swiss fired in a long-range strike which took a deflection as it headed towards goal.

Bravo reached it but instead of pushing it over the bar or round the post, he palmed it into the back of his own net.

It was a bad mistake, certainly, but this was his first competitive game since the World Cup finished, so you can't blame him for being a little rusty.

Ian Walton/Getty Images
Bravo had a break after the World Cup.

Luis Enrique did not seem too upset at the end, per Sport he said: "He played a good game. It's a pity he made a small error at the end, but these things happen in football. Overall, as a team, I felt like I saw an improvement and I think a draw would have been a fair result." 

Bravo had spoken before the game about his chances of being Barcelona's No 1, up against fellow new signing Marc-Andre ter Stegen and La Masia graduate Jordi Masip.

The goalkeeper, purchased for €12 million from Real Sociedad this summer said, per Sport:

The truth is that I'm feeling really good. After two weeks of training I'm in good form and ready to compete, for sure. I don't know if I will be picked to start [when the season begins], but the feelings are good and I also feel welcome with my new teammates. The adaption is feeling incredible, I feel really comfortable. We are all preparing to play and to compete. We don't need to be told who will play or not, or if there will be rotations.

Bravo's main contender for the position is German stopper Ter Stegen.

At 22, he has much less experience than the Chilean, who is 31, but is still a consistent and impressive performer.

Ter Stegen featured in Barcelona's first friendly, coming on at half-time during the 1-0 win at Recreativo Huelva.

He played the whole of the second, conceding one goal against Nice, which he could do nothing about.

David Ramos/Getty Images
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is in the best position.

Gerard Pique gave away a penalty and Ter Stegen went the right way but was unable to keep it out.

Other than that, he looked solid and also strong with his feet, playing a couple of good long-range passes.

Masip was impressed with Ter Stegen, telling Sport: "He's a good guy who wants to learn a lot, to learn Catalan and Spanish. He is a very good goalkeeper, good with his feet and in the air, and he has much potential too." 

Bravo has certainly put himself in hot water with his mistake against Napoli, but Enrique will not judge him on the basis of one error in a pre-season friendly.

It is unclear at the moment how Barcelona will use their goalkeepers in the upcoming season, whether one of them will take pole position or if they will be rotated.

We could see a similar move to Real Madrid's decision last season to play Iker Casillas in cup matches and Diego Lopez in the league.

Or perhaps in the two remaining friendlies before the season begins one of the three players will stake their claim.

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