Marc-Andre ter Stegen says Manuel Neuer was “inappropriate” to criticise him after expressing a desire to play a more prominent role for the German national team.
Ter Stegen has made almost 200 appearances for Barcelona since joining the club in 2014, helping the Blaugrana win nine major honours during that time.
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- Ter Stegen has made 2.8 saves per 90 minutes in La Liga since becoming Barca’s first choice in 2016 while Neuer has averaged 1.71 in the Bundesliga.
- Both have helped their clubs to a number of major honours during that time.
- But Ter Stegen has been unable to oust Neuer as Germany’s No.1 goalkeeper.
- The two are now at loggerheads, with Ter Stegen calling Neuer’s latest comments “inappropriate”.
- The situation is similar to that of Thibaut Courtois’ rift with Simon Mignolet in 2014.
However, he has been unable to dislodge Neuer as Joachim Low’s preferred choice between the sticks for Germany, picking up just 22 caps for his country so far – 10 of which came in 2017 when Neuer struggled with injury.
The 27-year-old was an unused substitute during Germany’s recent Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Netherlands and Northern Ireland, describing his omission in both games as a “massive blow”.
Neuer dismissed Ter Stegen’s comments as unhelpful, also claiming he was being disrespectful to Germany’s other goalkeepers, such as Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp.
Now, Ter Stegen has hit back, calling Neuer’s comments “inappropriate”, insisting he has a right to feelings and ambitions.
“There’s competition for places and every player wants to play,” Ter Stegen told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund in his native Germany.
“That’s football. A lot of the time you’re happy, but there are also other feelings. I have expectations and I have to express them.
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“You can see how I have behaved in recent years and I don’t think that Neuer or others have to talk about my feeling or assess them. His remarks were inappropriate but I don’t want to say much more, I want to bring an end to all this controversy.”
Another goalkeeping war of words
This war of words is reminiscent of that which occurred between Belgium goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet in 2014.
At the time, the pair had 14 caps each for the Red Devils but Mignolet – then at Liverpool – had recently questioned then-manager Marc Wilmots’ decision to replace him in the starting XI.
Mignolet was later reinstated for defeats to Colombia and Japan but Courtois, who was on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea at the time, was quick to hit out at his rival, insisting any questioning of his place in the team was “disrespectful”.
“When someone says he’s been unfairly dropped as Belgium’s No.1 ‘keeper I see it as a personal attack on me,” Courtois said at the time.
“It shows you don’t accept your manager’s calls – and you have no respect for the first choice. He needs to show respect for whoever is currently in that role.”