Puyol: Ter Stegen can become one of the best of all time
Monaco and Munich – Before the international match against Spain, former World Champion Carles Puyol talks to SPORT1 about Germany’s World Cup chances, the strengths of Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Ousmane Dembele.
Carles Puyol is an icon of Spanish football.
The long-time captain of FC Barcelona won the Champions League three times and became World Champion with the Iberians in South Africa in 2010.
As a player’s advisor, among others to Marc Bartra, the 39-year-old is still close to the action.
On the fringes of the Laureus Awards in Monaco, Puyol spoke to SPORT1 about his World Cup favourites, Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s strengths and the situation of Ousmane Dembele at Barca.
SPORT1: Mr. Puyol, no country has defended the title since 1962. How do you see Germany’s chances?
Carles Puyol: Germany can of course become world champion again. Other favourites for me are Spain, Brazil, France and Argentina. They have had problems in qualifying, but the long journeys of the stars from Europe also make it difficult to prepare properly for these matches. At a World Cup finals it’s different, you have a preparation of three to four weeks. That’s why Argentina also has a chance of winning the World Cup.
SPORT1: Germany is missing Manuel Neuer. Could Marc-Andre ter Stegen replace him at the World Championship?
Puyol: Yes. To me, he’s on the same level as new guy. Germany is lucky that they have a replacement like ter Stegen. I see no problem at all in the goal, even if newcomers don’t get fit in time.
SPORT1: What makes the bars so special?
Puyol: He is very calm and always makes the right decisions. The way Barca plays, you need a goalkeeper who can open the game and play the ball over the second and third lines. That is crucial. And he is very young and still has a great future ahead of him. For me, he can be one of the best goalkeepers in history.
SPORT1: What is his share of FC Barcelona’s very good season so far?
Puyol: Marc plays an incredible season. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world for me. It fits perfectly to the game idea of Barca. As goalkeeper anyway, but also with his feet. I think he’ll be in goal with Barca for many more years.
SPORT1: Another former Bundesliga professional at Barca is Ousmane Dembele. He caused a lot of trouble at Borussia Dortmund during his move and was injured for a long time, but showed ascending form in the end. How do you rate him?
Puyol: I think he’s a good player. But he switched to a big club with the pressure of a high transfer fee paid for him. He has to forget that and just think about improving further. He was seeded in Dortmund, now he is in Barcelona in one of the best teams in the world and has to get used to it. He has the skills. But he must remain patient, learn from his fellow players and concentrate on his performance.
SPORT1: Your protégé Marc Bartra has also left the BVB for Spain to recommend himself for the World Championships. What role did the consequences of the bomb attack in the spring play?
Puyol: Unfortunately this happened, luckily everyone survived it well. Marc started this season very well. When things got worse, he had to change his position more often due to the many failures in the team, among other things as a right-back. Of course, that didn’t help Marc. And the new coach then bet on other players and he didn’t have enough time to play, so he tried to switch to Betis Sevilla.
You can also read:
Ter Stegen: Stronger without Neymar
Newer race against time