“He's still flying,” Ronald Araújo defined Marc André Ter Stegen's party (the Uruguayan's had not fallen short) in the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup against Real Sociedad. Because when Riqui Puig scored the decisive goal (2-3 in the shoot-out), the bulk of players did not go towards Matadepera. Everyone ran to surround the German goalkeeper, aware of how much he had grown in extra time before Januzaj, in the penalty shootout, and how he had led Barça to the final. “Come on!” He yelled when he saved Bautista's first penalty in the shootout. But he had more work. Then he could also with Oyarzabal. “Come on, dammit!” He added the interjection to the second. His capacity for intimidation reached such an extreme that Willian José wanted to adjust the third txuri-urdin pitch so much that he hit his post. Basically, the penalty shootout was won by him. And he put a Barça in the final that is looking for its first title after a year of drought.
That final pineapple around Ter Stegen, with all the players slapping him, a new leadership in the Barça illuminates. In its seventh season, and renewed until 2025 after the pandemic, Ter Stegen is a respected player in the dressing room, but it has also had its friction with the ancient sacred cows. Different ways of looking at things, different concepts about the hierarchies in the wardrobe that now fit. It is a time of new roles and new leadership. And apparently Ter Stegen represents the new values of a wardrobe that, surely, has less quality than the one he signed the best decade of the club in its history, but which now transmits much more enthusiasm than that group of worn-out players who threw away the shirt with 2-8 in Lisbon.
There was also Ter Stegen. The German had certain doubts about his continuity at Barça. Well installed in the city and in the club, however, he needed the changing room to be cleaned and a new image of seriousness be transmitted. What you see now you like better. The fall of Lisbon made Barça kiss the canvas. The stars, the egos, the lightness to skip training are over. A new professionalism has been imposed. And, in addition, the youngest follow him. They see him as a leader. “Flying”, like Araújo. Ter Stegen, however, did not want to shoot rockets after the game. “Nor is it to feel super proud.” He, who arrived at Barça in 2014 and touched the sky with the treble that same season, has seen a giant entity collapse. That is why he knows that, within his obligations, he is to rebuild it. “We are at Barça to win games like this”, he remembered. It's possible. There are occasions, however, that a simple semi-final of Spain Supercup reaches a symbolic value more important than that of certain qualifying rounds of Champions. He Barça wants to invent a new time and Ter Stegen represents new leadership.