FC Barcelona must choose a starting goalkeeper and stick with it

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 23: Jordi Masip, Claudio Bravo and Ter Stegen, goalkeepers of FC Barcelona pose with La Liga trophy during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Deportivo La Coruña at Camp Nou on May 23, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Miguel Ruiz/FC Barcelona via Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - MAY 23: Jordi Masip, Claudio Bravo and Ter Stegen, goalkeepers of FC Barcelona pose with La Liga trophy during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Deportivo La Coruña at Camp Nou on May 23, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Miguel Ruiz/FC Barcelona via Getty Images) /

FC Barcelona has to choose between Claudio Bravo and Marc Andre-Ter Stegen this summer

Having a world-class goalkeeper is something not many clubs can boast about. There are a few number of keepers that can be the difference between you winning and losing the game. Having one keeper is fantastic, having more than one in a squad is a luxury. It was a luxury that Luis Enrique has been using to his advantage at FC Barcelona for the past two years. Two great goalkeepers and he use them in separate situations.

Claudio Bravo, who was brought over from Real Sociedad in 2014, plays only in La Liga games. Meanwhile, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, the German youngster, plays in cup competitions such as the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. Both players are fantastic and each has their own separate skills that make them unique.

But obviously, both want to be the alpha dog. For a position such as a goalkeeper, nobody wants to split time and watch from the sidelines. Especially Ter-Stegen who doesn’t seem happy that he is only playing in cup competitions. This has been a luxury for FC Barcelona so far, but it has turned into a dilemma and it is something that they need to address this summer before the upcoming season.

The Case for Claudio Bravo

Bravo, who also is the starting goalkeeper for Chile, was regarded as one of the best La Liga keepers even before he came to the Camp Nou. He helped bring Real Sociedad back to La Liga and even scored on a direct free kick during his 8 years with the club. When he was sold he was the 4th most expensive player ever sold by Real Sociedad.

More from FC Barcelona

He has kept up his form when he came to FC Barcelona in 2014. Starting off the season red-hot, Bravo went almost 600 minutes without giving up a goal before Cristiano Ronaldo hit the back of the net in Real Madrid’s 3-1 El Clasico win that year. Bravo won the Zamora trophy which is given to the keeper with the best goals-against average in the league. He also was named to the La Liga team of the season and helped lead Barcelona to a La Liga title, which would be the first of the three major trophies they would win that season.

His reflexes and speed coming off his line are what makes Bravo one of the best goalkeepers. Multiple times FC Barcelona have been caught out but Bravo has come off his line to stop any threat of a goal. We saw it in Barcelona’s 4-0 drubbing of Madrid this past season when Bravo made some ridiculous saves including one on Ronaldo when it seemed destined that the super striker would score.

His ability to push shots away and not turn them into rebound situations is key as well. Bravo’s veteran leadership and craftiness make up for the fact that he isn’t the most athletic or tallest goalkeeper. But he certainly makes up for it when it comes to positioning and reflexes.

The Case for Marc-Andre Ter-Stegen

Hailed as the heir to Manuel Neuer in terms of the German National Team, Ter Stegen has made a name for himself at the Catalan club. It is an impressive feat considering he only plays in cup competitions and has only made seven league appearances in La Liga, including none during their treble-winning season.

But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t contributed to the success. A lot of Barcelona’s success/escapes when it comes to conceding chances is due to Ter Stegen. He won the award for “Best Save” in  the 2014-15 season when he made a goal line save on Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich during their second leg of their semi-final clash. Ter Stegen got a right hand on the shot and then ran back and push the shot away as it trickled to the goal line.

More from Playing for 90

Ter Stegen is extremely athletic and has quick reflexes. You could say his reflexes are quicker than Bravo. At 6’1, Ter Stegen is actually a little bit taller than his Chilean counterpart and his long arms helps him save shots he really isn’t supposed to save. But the real gem about Ter Stegen is his passing.

His ability to play balls to the midfielders/attackers like he is a centre-back really adds another dimension to the Barcelona style. It makes life a bit simpler when it comes to passing back to the goalie and helps relieve pressure. He also shows a Neuer like aggression on long balls, coming out and catching them or kicking them away.

There are obvious flaws when it comes to being aggressive like that. Ter Stegen has been actually caught out twice this season from kicks behind the halfway line, with both kicks turning into goals. He gave one up during the Spanish Super Cup and one in the Champions League to Alessandro Florenzi.

His footwork isn’t the best as his more athletic saving style also some simple shots to get by him. But his lack of footwork helps when it comes to deflections as he can change directions in a flash and has an easier dealing with a shot that comes in off a player. But he is only 24 years old and has an entire career ahead of him.

FC Barcelona has to make a choice

Both players aren’t happy about not playing the whole year and Luis Enrique has to make a decision. Reports say that Bravo has offers from English and Italian clubs while Ter Stegen has been heavily linked with Liverpool and Man City as per the Express.

Related Story: Have Barcelona found their replacement for Marc Bartra?

According to sources such as Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona has already made that choice. But like always with soccer news, we never know the truth until we actually see it. It’s a tough choice as both keepers are world-class. Maybe Barcelona can make this work for another season or two, but eventually, they have to make a choice. Let’s hope that this doesn’t turn ugly for FC Barcelona.