Cillessen: Playing for Valencia beats sitting on Barcelona’s bench
Jasper Cillessen had grown tired of sitting on the bench at Barcelona and does not view his move to Valencia as a backward step.Valencia shelled out €35 million ($39m, £31m) in June to sign Cillessen, who spent three seasons at Barca acting as back-up to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.The 30-year-old won five major trophies at Camp Nou, including two La Liga titles, but was never able to earn a regular place in Ernesto Valverde’s starting XI. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? The Netherlands international made just 12 appearances in all competitions for the Catalan giants last season and believes the transfer to Valencia is a positive move for him at this stage of his career.”I have not had problems with Barcelona or with any team. For me, the most important thing is to play. It’s the only reason I’m here,” Cillessen told Marca.”For me to come to Valencia is not a step back. Between being on the bench of Barcelona or playing at Valencia, playing at Valencia is much better. It is easy. It is not a step back.”When I arrived at Barcelona, Ter Stegen was on a different level than now. And after three years he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.”I think we both improved, but it was time for me to leave.”Valencia are reportedly interested in Barca midfielder Rafinha and Cillessen hopes the Brazilian, who has been out of action since November due to a serious left knee injury, follows him in heading to Mestalla.The Dutchman said of Rafinha: “He is a very good player, he has had very bad luck with injuries. But he is a great player, it would be very important here with this system and for the coach.”He is my friend and I want him to come here.”Valencia kicked off their latest pre-season campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Monaco on Saturday, with a clash against Sion up next tomorrow.Los Ches’ first match of the 2019-20 season is against Real Sociedad at the Mestalla on August 17, which is followed by a trip to Celta Vigo a week later.