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Ruud Hesp, ex-Barça goalie, heading to Turkey for new adventure

Ruud Hesp made a lasting impression as a goalkeeper for FC Barcelona, joining the team at 32 years old at the end of the 20th century when Louis van Gaal took over as coach. Hesp was part of the team from 1997 to 2000, initially as a backup, but quickly became the starting goalkeeper, replacing the highly regarded Portuguese goalkeeper Vitor Baia, who struggled under pressure and returned to Porto. During his time at Barça, Hesp played over 100 games, won two La Liga titles, a Copa del Rey, and a European Super Cup. He smoothly transitioned the team from the era of Andoni Zubizarreta to the one led by Víctor Valdés.

After his playing career, Hesp became a goalkeeper coach at PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and now he is set to embark on a new journey in Turkish football, joining the coaching staff led by former Dutch Barça player Gio van Bronckhorst.

According to Voetbal, Hesp, who played a crucial role in helping Barça win a Copa del Rey final against Mallorca in a penalty shootout, will be leaving his position as goalkeeping coach at SC Heerenveen after three seasons.

Hesp’s career peaked at FC Barcelona, where he gained media attention and even appeared in a commercial for a supermarket chain. Despite facing tough competition from other top Dutch goalkeepers like Hans van Breukelen and Edwin van der Saar, Hesp was recognized as the best goalkeeper in the Eredivisie twice. His signing by Barça from Roda for around one million euros was a testament to his talent and potential.

Between 1985 and 2002, Hesp trained at various Dutch clubs like Haarlem, Roda, and Fortuna Sittard, before retiring in 2002.

This week, SC Heerenveen confirmed that Hesp is set to make a professional move. “Ruud has informed us that he is planning to join Besiktas,” stated director Ferry de Haan on the club’s website. “While we are sad to see him leave, we wish him the best of luck in Turkey for this exciting new challenge,” he added.

Besiktas ended up in sixth place in the Turkish Super League last season. This was seen as an unsatisfactory result for one of the powerhouses of the Turkish League. To improve their standing, they are looking to make changes with the assistance of former Barcelona players Van Bronckhorst and Hesp.

This content has been translated and adapted from the Spanish version of the digital newspaper

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