Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen dismissed comparisons to superstar team-mate Lionel Messi.
Ter Stegen’s passing ability has been lauded, with the Germany goalkeeper helping Barca sit 11 points clear atop La Liga.
But the 25-year-old played down any suggestions he should be compared to Messi, saying his focus was firstly on shot-stopping.
“I’m being called ‘Messi with gloves’? I think he’s had a great level over many years. You shouldn’t compare yourself with that,” Ter Stegen said.
“Of course my first goal is to save the balls. This is obviously the most important thing as a goalkeeper. You can be as good as you want with your feet but when you’re making mistakes the opinions will change immediately.
“For me, it’s important that we have a philosophy that we want to solve things in a good way, but there are situations where you cannot do that.
“Of course our clear intention is to solve those situations at that level but again the focus is to save the balls. We work on that more than with the feet.”
Ter Stegen is Germany’s first-choice goalkeeper heading into friendlies with Spain and Brazil, with Bayern Munich shot-stopper Manuel Neuer still sidelined following foot surgery.
@mterstegen1 : “I have a good idea of what to expect, as a lot of Spain’s squad play in La Liga. I know the mentality and can no doubt give the boys some tips.” #DieMannschaft #GERESP pic.twitter.com/be0XeVHgM1
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) March 22, 2018
Asked about potentially being number one for the World Cup, the 25-year-old said he was unwilling to look that far ahead.
“I’m enjoying it every time being on the pitch because we have a great team, especially at home. We have a great chemistry on and off the field. We really have a great team,” he said.
“In view of the World Cup, you have a rhythm and you know that you always have to have a good performance. This is what I’m doing. I’m just focusing on the present and trying to be well prepared when I’m with the national team.
“In view of the World Cup, I just want to be prepared well. How the coach is deciding is his decision. You have to look at how Manu is doing. Therefore, I’m just focused on the things that happen now. After that let’s see how things are by then.”