Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has said he does not expect first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to return in time for his team’s clash with Real Madrid on October 24 at the Camp Nou.
The Germany international has been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery in August and had been hoping to be back in time for the first Clasico of the 2020-21 La Liga season.
However, Koeman told reporters at a pre-match press conference on Friday that Ter Stegen is still not quite ready to make his long-awaited comeback.
“He’s been working out on the pitch. Everything is going good. I don’t think he’ll make the Clasico, it’s a little bit too soon.
“We don’t have to put a date on his return. We’ll see. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper but we’re calm. We’re happy with how he’s working. Hopefully he’ll be back soon but it won’t be for another few weeks.”
Brazilian back-up Neto will continue between the sticks for Barca. The 31-year-old has enjoyed a strong start to the new season and has only conceded one goal in his first three games.
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Barca to Renew Ter Stegen’s Contract
However, Barcelona should have good news regarding Ter Stegen’s future to announce shortly. According to ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens, the German is set to extend his contract until 2025.
The goalkeeper is set to receive a “substantial wage rise” that will make him one of Barcelona’s highest earners. Ter Stegen’s new salary “will be staggered across the five-year deal” to help the club who are having financial difficulties.
News that Barcelona have secured Ter Stegen’s future will be warmly welcomed by supporters. The 28-year-old is one of Europe’s top goalkeepers and has turned out to be a bargain after signing for just €12 million from Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2014.
Ter Stegen Wins 2019-20 Aldo Rovira Award
Ter Stegen’s importance to Barcelona has been highlighted by the club announcing he has won the club’s Aldo Rovira Award for last season. The award is given to the team’s best player “as decided by a jury made up leading media figures.”
It’s the first time Ter Stegen has claimed the prize, and he’s also the first goalkeeper to pick up the award in its 11-year history. Previous winners include Luis Suarez, Javier Mascherano, Gerard Pique, Eric Abidal and a certain Lionel Messi.
👍 @mterstegen1 wins 2019/20 Aldo Rovira Award 👏
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 16, 2020
Ter Stegen was a virtual ever-present for Barca last season. He played in all but two of their league games and even finished the campaign with two assists, a remarkable stat for a goalkeeper.