Aug 1, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT
31-year-old Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has only just moved to Barcelona and is competing with a 22-year-old.
Turns out, the kid ain’t too shabby.
Bravo and German youth star Marc-Andre ter Stegen are battling for the number 1 shirt at the Nou Camp this season as Luis Enrique hopes to replace Victor Valdes.
According to Bravo, that won’t be a problem.
“I have been surprised by many things that Ter Stegen has done,” Bravo said to Barcelona station Catalunya Radio. “He has great quality and is already talking the native language, Catalan.”
That’s a good problem for Barcelona to have, given the relatively heavy overhaul the club is undertaking this summer.
It was thought the baby-faced German would be the starter when he came over from Borussia Monchengladbach a few months ago, but since the Chilean arrived, things became muddy.
“In my career I have never been a substitute but I have always started from scratch with my peers,” Bravo said. “Here there is a healthy competition that will help the team to be as prepared as possible.”
Those are the words of a solid teammate and true clubhouse leader.
Bravo also talked about the style of goalkeeper Enrique is looking for, describing the need for good passing.
“We’ve been practicing a lot with the team to get used to the tactical strategies,” Bravo said. “I know that [Enrique] wants a GK that is comfortable with his feet so we can have a quality ball possession from box to box. It’s important to have a keeper like that.”
Ter Stegen completed 73% of his passes out of the box in the Bundesliga last season according to WhoScored statistics, while Bravo only found his mark on 59% during last year with Real Sociedad. Ter Stegen also averaged over twice as many passes per match as Bravo did.
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