German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was the star at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Wednesday night. A brilliant save in stoppage time from Paulo Dybala stopped Juventue grabbing a 1-0 win against Barcelona.
Ter Stegen was crowned the king of the night. The image of him hugging Gianluigi Buffon in the middle of the pitch, at the end of the game, was significant. It was the scene of a symbolic transfer of powers. The Italian, a legend, will bring an end to his career at the end of the season. Considered the best goalkeeper in history, Buffon could have been seen to be choosing Ter Stegen as his heir.
The Italian was not the only person lauding the Barça stopper on Wednesday. His club teammates did, too.
"He is the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment, he's playing at such a high level," said left-back Lucas Digne.
Andres Iniesta followed the same line: "Teams create few chances [against Barça] but it's vital that the goalkeeper saves them. It's not an easy task, but Marc has huge quality and talent. The best thing is that he can still grow more."
Valverde: "Ter Stegen is always there at decisive moments"
The 25-year-old Ter Stegen has a cool head and the personality to deal with the pressure of being the Barcelona goalkeeper and being a success at Camp Nou.
Another of the team's captains, Sergio Busquets, added that "Ter Stegen is a top level goalkeeper and, right now, is in great form which is helping us be more solid. Keeping clean sheets is a great thing."
Meanwhile, coach Ernesto Valverde said: "He is in a great moment of form, although the plan is for him to not have to make many saves. He didn't have a lot to do toady but, yes, he was there to make a decisive save [from Paulo Dybala]. If they'd scored then, they'd have won the game."