The jury has decided! Marc-André ter Stegen wins the Aldo Rovira Award for being the best Barcelona player of last season. It’s an award given by a group of journalists and this is now its 11th iteration so far.
For the Catalans, 2019/20 has been a season to forget. Disappointment, heartbreak and, above all, embarrassment were the highlights of a highly unsuccessful campaign. However, despite underperforming on all fronts, one man has given his all.
Of course, we are talking about the German goalkeeper who rightfully takes the prize for himself. The award was created by former manager Josep Lluís Rovira as tribute to his son Aldo, who died in a motorcycle accident back on March 18, 2009 at the age of just 37.
The trophy is actually a statue made by the artist Montserrat García Rius and will be presented to the winner soon. Interestingly and perhaps surprisingly, Ter Stegen wins the Aldo Rovira Award ahead of Lionel Messi, whose last win was two years ago.
Last season, Gerard Piqué was the one to claim it and now, it belongs to the German. The winner was also chosen in a telematic meeting attended by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Rovira himself and his son Borja.
As for Ter Stegen, he is still recovering from his injury and we still don’t know when he’ll be ready to return. Recently, Ronald Koeman said the German is unlikely to feature in El Clásico later this month.
That would mean his full recovery is still some time away. Still, that doesn’t take anything away from this award, which feels well deserved.
Barcelona call up midfielder Matheus Fernandes for the first time
Barcelona confirmed the signing of Matheus Fernandes from Palmeiras for a fee of €7 million + €3 million in variables on the last day of the January transfer window on a four-year contract, with the release clause set at €300 million. The midfielder would join the Barcelona camp after the end of the 2019/20 season.
This transfer was regarded as a sketchy transfer as he was not touted as good enough for a club of the stature of Barcelona. In fact, the Brazilian was barely able to make it off the bench for Real Valladolid during his time with the club on six-month loan stretching from January to July this year.
During those six month, Matheus made only three appearances, registering a total of 166 minutes with starts against Atletico Madrid and Eibar, and a one-minute cameo against Real Betis. He also suffered a hamstring injury during this tenure, ruling him out for four games.
After his arrival to the Catalan capital, Matheus was not even presented as a Barcelona player unlike the signings of Pedri, Fransisco Trincão, Miralem Pjanic, and Sergino Dest. In fact, Matheus did not even participate in the pre-season friendlies as he was ruled out from a hamstring injury.
News surrounded his departure as early as January, without him even getting a chance to play for the club. However, against all odds, Matheus has been included in the squad that will take on Dynamo Kyiv in gameweek four of the UEFA Champions League. This, in all probability, stems from the exclusion of Sergio Busquets – who is injured, and Frenkie de Jong – who has been rested.
Ronald Koeman has named just four central midfielders for the trip to Ukraine, with Miralem Pjanic guaranteed a spot. However, with the lack of any natural defensive midfielders, Koeman might have to readjust his tactics, and field one of Riqui Puig and Carles Aleña in the centre of the pitch as part of the midfield.