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BARCELONA

Jasper Cillessen: "I thought Barcelona interest was a joke"

Barcelona’s new signing says he couldn’t believe it when his agent first told him of the move and that he's keen to fight for the starting spot.

Athletic Bilbao - Barcelona

Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen has told Barcelona TV that he intends to do all he can to win the starting role at the Camp Nou and that he won’t be satisfied with being Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s backup following his €13 million move from Ajax last week.

"Barcelona are the best team in the world"

I want to win titles at Barcelona and I would like to be the goalkeeper that wins the Champions League as a starter,” he said.

Though confident ahead of the new season, he also admitted that he was surprised when it was revealed that Barcelona were interested: “I asked my agent if it was a joke. Barcelona are the best team in the world and it gave me goosebumps just thinking about it.”

Not a one-dimensional goalkeeper

Much has been made of ter Stegen’s ability to play with the ball at his feet and Cillessen says he’s also capable of fitting in with Barça’s style. “I’m not a one-dimensional goalkeeper,” he said. “I can do a lot of things; playing with your feet is an important thing at Barcelona.”

Spain Soccer FC BarcelonaCillessen says he's keen to compete with new number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen

He spoke about Barcelona players of times gone by. He mentioned Dutch goalkeeper Ruud Hesp, though admitted his idol was Edwin van der Sar. His favourite player of the Louis van Gaal era was Patrick Kluivert.

Cillessen could have been a striker

Cillessen also discussed his career as a child: “I started playing at the age of six with De Treffers, my local team. Then, aged eleven, I moved to NEC Nijmegen. I played there as a striker for three years but I really wanted to play in goal. My mum didn’t like the idea but eventually I convinced her!