Real Madrid vs Barcelona: Ter Stegen names his best XI
Ahead of the huge clash in LaLiga, Barça's German goalkeeper looked back on those he's played with fondly, with one major surprising omission.
Marc-André Ter Stegen played alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona for seven seasons, but the Argentine - regarded as many as the greatest of all time - hasn't found a place in the best XI of the big goalkeeper.
Was there some sour feeling between the two when the forward left for PSG? That's what some people guessed when they saw the fantasy team shared on social media. Or was there some tactical thinking going on by Barça's number one as he considered stars from Borussia Moenchengladbach and the German national team, as well as those over recent years at the Camp Nou?
Clásico news and insight:
No Messi in Ter Stegen best XI
In attack, Marco Reus and Mario Götze were picked before Messi by the German. And it wasn't as though he was ignoring the Catalan stars with no less than seven players in total, including their current coach. They are Piqué, Dani Alves, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi and Frenkie de Jong.
Defenders: Dani Alves, Rüdiger, Piqué, Jordi Alba
Midfielders: Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Frenkie de Jong
Forwards: Reus, Götze
Dest out of El Clásico
One player that will hope to feature in more best XIs in the future, especially in the US, received bad news. Defender Sergino Dest was ruled out of Sunday's Clásico with Real Madrid and the United States' final batch of World Cup qualifiers.
The 21-year-old injured his left hamstring during the early stages of the second half in Barca's 2-1 Europa League last-16 second-leg win over Galatasaray on Thursday. Dest has undergone a scan and Barcelona confirmed on Friday that he will not return to action until after the international break.
As a result, Dest has been replaced by Arminia Bielefeld left-back George Bello in USA's squad for their qualifiers against Mexico, Panama and Costa Rica. Dani Alves is expected to slot in for Dest in a straight swap for the LaLiga trip to Madrid, but the veteran full-back is not registered for the Europa League.
Barcelona will face Eintracht Frankfurt in the quarter-finals of that competition, with the first leg scheduled for April 7. Ajax academy product Dest has featured 20 times for Barça this term – the 10th most of any player – and has been capped 17 times by USA.