FC Barcelona’s backup goalkeeper, Jasper Cillessen, could start and get his first minutes of the season Tuesday night when the Catalans travel to third-tier Murcia for the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 32.
“There'll be lineup changes against Murcia,” manager Ernesto Valverde said at his pregame press conference, without specifying just what those changes would be.
Goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, who has started and played every minute of every game this season, was left off the squad for Tuesday night’s match, joining a bevy of other stars — like Leo Messi, Luis Suárez, and Andrés Iniesta — who Valverde has elected to rest.
Cillessen played eight of Barça’s nine Copa del Rey matches last season, including the final, when Barça beat Alavés, 3–1, to hoist its third consecutive Cup. The only game he missed was the second leg of the last 16 against Real Sociedad, which Barça won, 5–2.
The 28-year-old Dutchman was spectacular in the preseason, helping Barça win all three of its games on the 2017 US Tour. Cillessen was named man of the match in Barça’s 1–0 win over Manchester United at FedExField in Washington DC.
Cillessen was also a regular starter for the Netherlands in World Cup Qualifying this season.