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Marc-Andre ter Stegen Happy at Barcelona but Came Close to Quitting Camp Nou

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 27: Ter Stegen of Barcelona in action during the Copa del Rey Semi Final second leg match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Santiago Bernabeu on February 27, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has said he is happy at the club but revealed he came close to leaving the Camp Nou in 2016. 

The German arrived in 2014 but spent his first two seasons playing second fiddle to Claudio Bravo. He played UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey games, while the Chilean played in La Liga.

Ter Stegen said the situation prompted him to consider leaving, per DAZN and Goal's Jan Platte:

"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."

Bravo was sold to Manchester City in 2016, allowing Ter Stegen to take over his league duties. Jasper Cillessen was brought in as the German's No. 2, and his game time mainly comes in the Copa del Rey.

Ter Stegen is content and says life in Barcelona is "wonderful" for both himself and his wife.

"I have another three-and-a-half years [left on my] contract," he added. "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."

Since becoming Barca's first-choice goalkeeper, the 26-year-old has gone from strength to strength thanks to his combination of impressive shot-stopping and distribution.

With Cillessen on the bench after recovering from a muscle injury, Ter Stegen was in goal for Barca's 3-0 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.

He made a number of important stops, including a top-class save to keep out Sergio Reguilon's header, and his performance was no surprise given his recent form:

OptaJose @OptaJose

47 - Marc-André ter Stegen has saved 47 of the last 55 shots on target he has faced for @FCBarcelona (eight goals conceded). Spectacular. https://t.co/c3IEH9iqg4

Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard singled him out for praise:

Ben Hayward @bghayward

Marc-André ter Stegen was incredible again with several super saves. Along with Jan Oblak, he is the best goalkeeper in the world right now and the German’s heroics gifted Jasper Cillessen the chance to win another Copa. Class. #ElClasico #FCBlive #RealMadrid

The result of his efforts was his 14th clean sheet of the season and a place in the Copa del Rey final, with Barcelona bidding to win the trophy for the fifth campaign in a row.

Ter Stegen is among Barca's most important players, and given his age, he could remain their first-choice stopper for many years to come.

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