There is no shortage of some mouthwatering fixtures in the four upcoming UEFA Champions League quarter-finals ties but it is arguably Barcelona’s tussle with Manchester United that is bound to grab the most eyeballs.
While all eyes will naturally be on the likes of Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, the battle at the opposite ends of the pitch is set to be one of the most intriguing ones.
Two of Europe’s best shot-stoppers will go head-to-head Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen pitted against Manchester United’s David de Gea for the first time in their respective careers.
Bothe goalkeepers have undergone a similar career trajectory before establishing themselves as the undisputed No1’s of two of the biggest clubs in the world.
De Gea carved his reputation as a teenager at Atletico Madrid before he caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson who pulled out all the stops to bring the Spaniard to Manchester United in the summer of 2011.
The Madrid-born custodian’s first season in English football wasn’t the most promising of ones with the youngster struggling to come to grips with the physicality in the league. Despite plenty of criticism from pundits and former players alike for making some costly errors, the Spaniard was backed Ferguson and duly turned around his United career in style.
Now undeniably considered in the upper echelon of Europe’s best goalkeepers, de Gea has been named in the Premier League Team of the season for five years running now since the 2012-13 campaign.
Similarly, ter Stegen broke through the ranks as a teenager at Borussia Monchengladbach before his sterling displays between the sticks earned him a move to Barcelona in 2014. The German’s start to life at the Camp Nou was an ordinary one as well with shot-stopper being rotated along with Claudio Bravo for the most part until the Chilean’s departure in 2016.
Since then, ter Stegen has not looked behind and is now firmly the Barcelona No1 with his displays over the last two seasons propelling him into the discussion of the best goalkeepers in the world currently.
As their fates get ready to intersect for the first time, which of the two goalkeepers will further enhance his respective reputation?