Jasper Cillessen is a Dutch footballer, born on 22nd April 1989 in Nijmegen. Cillessen plays as a goalkeeper and currently plays for the Spanish giants, FC Barcelona.
Cillessen began his football career playing for the youth team of local Dutch club, De Treffers. He was regularly scouted by other clubs and in 2001, he joined the NEC/Oss youth academy.
He gained his first professional contract with NEC in 2008 and was graduated to the first team in 2010. At the age of 21, Cillessen made his debut for NEC Nijmegen against SC Heerenveen. He won the man of the match on his debut and would sign for Dutch giants Ajax at the beginning of next season.
Cillessen made his debut for the Dutch national side under manager Louis van Gaal in June 2013. His debut was in an international friendly against Indonesia which the Dutch won convincingly 3-0. Cillessen played the first half of the game being replaced by his fellow club mate, Kenneth Vermeer.
Rise to Glory
After gaining only limited appearances for his new club in the first two seasons, Cillessen consolidated himself as the number 1 keeper for Ajax in the 2013-14 season. He would make 25 appearances in the league and helped his club land the Eredivisie once again.
His performances in the season ensured that Cillessen would be the number 1 goalkeeper for The Netherlands during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Being placed in the group of death along with Chile and Spain, Cillessen would have an inspired World Cup, conceding only four times in his team’s march to the semi-finals. This included clean sheets in the quarter-final, semi-final and the third-place playoff.
As a result of Cillessen’s feats during the World Cup, a number of scouts from leading clubs around the world had their eyes on the Dutch keeper. Cillessen spent a further couple of seasons at Ajax before moving abroad. Ajax would finish runners-up in the Eredivisie in these seasons.
After Barcelona sold Claudio Bravo to Manchester City, they were on the lookout for a new goalkeeper and Cillessen matched their profile perfectly. Cillessen was used to the possession style of football having played under former Barcelona stalwarts Frank de Boer and Louis van Gaal.
Hence, Cillessen signed for the Catalan club in the summer of 2016 and has largely been used as the goalkeeper in Cup games. As a result, he played in all the eight games in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey success in the 2016-17 season.
The first couple of seasons at Ajax were tough times for Cillessen. He had to compete with senior custodian Kenneth Vermeer for the goalkeeper spot and was relegated to a spot among the substitutes more often than not.
Jasper Cillessen started his senior professional career with NEC Nijmegen. He moved to AFC Ajax at the start of 2011-12 season for £2.90 million. He played 142 times for Ajax and kept 63 clean sheets. FC Barcelona bought him for £11.7 million in the summer of 2016 and he has been playing for the Catalan side since then.