Barcelona goalkeeper Inaki Pena has opened up on what it’s like to train with Lionel Messi. The highly-rated 21-year-old admits it can be frustrating facing the Barcelona captain on the training ground due to his sheer brilliance.
Pena is currently the Barcelona B goalkeeper but is often regularly called up to first-team sessions and could well be the club’s long-term successor to first choice Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The youngster told Sport that Messi is his favorite player but that training with the 33-year-old can be tough on the club’s goalkeepers.
When you train with him, you just stare at the amazing things he does. He scores goals, he doesn’t even move you and you ask yourself, how can he do that? At first I came back pissed off, but then you think that Messi has marked it for you and that it is something normal.
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Pena Praises Ter Stegen
Pena also spoke about Ter Stegen and how influential the Germany international has been and continues to be on his career. The youngster made it clear just how highly he rates the Barcelona No. 1.
As a person he is a 10, attentive, gives you advice, is always aware of what you do, improve, asks you … He has a feeling that is appreciated. I learn a lot with him and it is fortunate because he is the best in the world. Before he signed for Barça, I didn’t know him very much, but his level soon showed. His character, personality and quality are number one.
It is a reward to train with the first team, it makes me improve and I value what it means to learn from the best goalkeepers. I am aware that training with Ter Stgen and Neto is an unreal world because they are some of the best goalkeepers in the world
Ter Stegen has recently committed his future to Barcelona by signing a new long-term contract at the club. The German’s current deal now runs until 2025 and has a buyout clause set at €500 million.
Pena Part of Exciting Barcelona Future
There’s no doubt that Ter Stegen will continue in goal for some time for Barca, but Pena will hope he can put pressure on him in the coming seasons. The goalkeeper is part of an exciting crop of young players at the Camp Nou.
Indeed the current Barca squad is the youngest for the last decade, according to the club’s website. Teenagers Ansu Fati and Pedri are part of a 24-man first-team squad which also includes 12 players under the age of 25.
Young stars such as Carles Alena, Riqui Puig, Sergino Dest, Francisco Trincao will all be hoping to make an impact, while Pena’s Barca B team-mates such as Konrad de la Fuente and Oscar Mingueza are chasing promotion from the second string.
Pena will also be kept on his toes by fellow goalkeeper Arnau Tenas. The 19-year-old, who signed a new contract with the club in June, is another hot prospect who will also be hoping to make it at the Camp Nou.