According to Rudi Völler, caution is advisable when a goalkeeper is in the special ranking list of the Kicker is at the forefront. A goalkeeper who has a lot to do gets good grades, but if a goalkeeper always has a lot to do, then something is wrong with his team, according to Rudi Völler’s undeniably correct conclusion.
But not all experts are suspicious at first, as Stefan Ortega Moreno is currently finding out. The 29-year-old goalkeeper said goodbye in tears in May to his regular club Arminia Bielefeld, who had been transferred to the second division, in order to continue his career in the best possible way, and it looks like he will succeed. Well-known clubs are undeterred by his third place in the goalkeeping rankings (behind Cologne’s Marvin Schwäbe and Bochum’s Manuel Riemann). However, the recent report that signing with English champions Manchester City is just a tiny step away is at most half the truth.
If it were just about the money, he would have moved to Saudi Arabia long ago
Ortega could sign if he wanted to, but he has yet to find out if he really wants it: Number two behind (second) Brazil international goalkeeper Ederson, 28, to continue his career on the reserve bench. Now that everyone can see how good he is. City offers the prospect of winning titles, belonging to a top world-class team, a contract with befittingly luxurious pay and at least a handful of guaranteed appearances – actually a lot more than the goalkeeper of a Bundesliga relegated club can expect. But Ortega wonders if, at the age of 29, he wants to follow the competitions primarily as a spectator.
If it were just about money, Ortega, who was born in Hofgeismar in Hesse, would not have gone into the relegation battle with Arminia, but switched to Saudi Arabia last summer or last winter. Within two years he could have brought in a net worth that would have been enough for the children and grandchildren, but he has flatly rejected the repeated offers.
Now he is in a position where he does not have to regret his steadfastness. There is no shortage of good offers. The applicants have already called in one after the other, including FC Bayern, who are having difficulty hiring a strong second goalkeeper. The reason for this is the strong first goalkeeper. Manuel Neuer, 36, is known to not give games to the deputy even under the threat of violence, which is why the designated deputy Alexander Nübel has moved into exile in Monaco. Ortega had no desire to share Nübel’s fate. On the other hand, he could have been enthusiastic about Schalke 04, but both the sporting and the financial conditions in Gelsenkirchen spoke against it.
After ten years in Bielefeld and three seasons at TSV 1860 (including an unfortunate end), Stefan Ortega will move abroad, not to Spain as desired, but to England, that much seems to be clear before the final sounding. There is strong demand from the Premier League, where people are obviously well informed. The fact that even City’s demanding coach Pep Guardiola shows interest is not because he Kicker reads, but on the objective values of Ortega’s performances: In terms of the number of ball contacts – 57 per game – he even surpassed players like Thomas Müller and Vincenzo Grifo in 21/22. High pass rate, low error rate – no need for objections.