Barcelona announce new fourth captain following Gerard Pique retirement

Jamie Spencer
Xavi has filled the gap in Barcelona's leadership group
Xavi has filled the gap in Barcelona's leadership group / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has assumed the role of the club’s fourth captain after Gerard Pique retired earlier this season.

Barcelona have long made a habit of naming a full leadership group in the squad that extends far beyond a captain and vice-captain, which is usually the case at most clubs.

Until his somewhat sudden Camp Nou exit in November, Pique had been vice-captain behind main skipper Sergio Busquets – he landed the armband when Lionel Messi left in 2021.

Pique leaving meant that Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba, previously third and fourth captains respectively, were both promoted, leaving a newly vacant fourth captain position to be filled.

Ter Stegen has previously been referred to by head coach Xavi as a ‘silent leader’ and is now in his ninth season at Camp Nou following a 2014 transfer from Borussia Monchengladbach.

The German stopper was initially only a back-up to Claudio Bravo in La Liga, but played every Copa del Rey and Champions League game as Barça completed a treble in his debut season. Ter Stegen later succeeded Bravo in La Liga in 2016 when the Chilean joined Manchester City.

Ter Stegen has been the undisputed number one ever since and will soon reach 350 appearances.

Barça captains are typically home-grown players who have been developed at La Masis, with Ter Stegen the first not to have come through the youth system since Javier Mascherano, who was fourth captain from 2015 until his departure in January 2018.