Marc Andre Ter Stegen has often shown his dedication to the Barça youth system, but this year he has demonstrated a special connection to the U14B team that won its league last week.
It all started before the team was due to travel to a competition (which they’d go on to win) in Mönchengladbach, his home city.
The goalkeeper sent them a good luck message before they left, and when they returned, he surprised them by paying a visit to their training session and asking how the experience had gone.
He was always going to jump at the chance to share his fond memories of twenty years at the German club!
But he also used the occasion to give the youngsters some useful tips for the future, as well as expressing the importance of using football as a tool to develop your personality and complement your education. Although that takes nothing away, he reminds them, from the importance of ensuring that you don’t neglect your schoolwork.
Ter Stegen also warned the children at La Masia about how difficult it is to make the grade as a pro footballer, and how many difficult decisions it involves, such as leaving your family and going to live somewhere unfamiliar.
And he also told them about the importance of not treating errors as failure, but instead of learning from their mistakes to become better people.
It has been a valuable learning experience for the young hopefuls – but it would also appear to have been a highly rewarding one for the FCB goalie too.