A story like a summer fairy tale.
At first glance.
On closer inspection, however, there is a high degree of logic in this change from Bundesliga relegated Arminia Bielefeld to English champions Manchester City.
On the one hand, because Stefan Ortega Moreno was by far the best-performing professional in the squad of the largest football club in Ostwestfalen-Lippe, on the other hand, because all players, including goalkeepers, have to be excellent with the ball at the foot of the extremely rich champion of the Premier League.
Ortega can kick
After all, Pep Guardiola has been the head coach there for years.
Ederson, the Brazil international goalkeeper, has long been adept at the art of being head-to-toe with Guardiola's ideas as City's dependable number one.
Ortega Moreno, who came on a free transfer and has been the new number two since signing a three-year contract, was always a goalkeeper in his two Bundesliga years with Arminia between 2020 and this summer, whose short passes, but also long balls hit, had enormous precision .
The man can kick what everyone saw and keep an overview even under pressure.
At 1.85 meters, the not particularly tall North Hessian, who apart from a three-year interlude at TSV Munich 1860, played for DSC Arminia for twelve years, is characterized by enormous responsiveness.
She repeatedly helped him to make spectacular saves, but after staying in the class last year, they could not prevent Bielefeld's relegation in May 2022.
Rarely emotional and moved to tears, Ortega Moreno said goodbye to his Bielefeld audience after the 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig on matchday 34, not yet knowing where his journey as a professional would take him next.
That he would end up a few weeks later in the city empire with the eight-time English champions would have seemed surreal to him in the bitter moment of relegation.
That's how it felt for the goalkeeper when his agent Joerg Neblung, who had put him in touch with Guardiola's confidant and goalkeeper coach Xabier Mancisidor, first told him about the world club's interest in Ortega Moreno.
At the time, he was on vacation with his wife and child in Mallorca and asked in amazement: "Is that true?"
It then took him a few days to mentally adjust to the new size of his professional life before he, who had been ensnared in the Bundesliga by Schalke 04 who had been promoted again, said yes with full conviction.
"This new challenge is too beautiful to ignore," Ortega Moreno said once his decision had matured.
Trautmann as a role model?
This was probably preceded by his new big club's assurance that they would be number one in goal in the two national cup competitions (FA Cup, League Cup).
In both the Premier League and the Champions League, the new goalkeeper with the number 18 shirt will initially sit on the bench and watch his internationally renowned colleague Ederson at work.
But anyone who knows the insatiable ambition of the German-Spaniard knows that Ederson will be under greater competitive pressure than before when looking at his American deputy Zack Steffen.
In the FA Cup semifinals in the 3-2 defeat against Liverpool FC, he allowed himself one blackout too many in a duel with Sadio Mané, the then star striker of the Reds and new protagonist of FC Bayern Munich, and is now going to the club leave second division club Middlesbrough FC.
In Stefan Ortega Moreno, Manchester has once again signed a German keeper who has exceptional qualities like Bernhard Trautmann from Bremen, who rose from being an English prisoner of war to becoming a city hero.
Known only as "Bert" in Manchester, Trautmann secured his team's 3-1 victory over Birmingham City in the FA Cup final in 1956, despite a broken neck sustained in the game, and was then voted England's footballer of the year.
Ortega Moreno is only at the beginning of an adventure for which he is full of ambition.
"I believe that I can play a more important role at City than many people give me credit for, my development is definitely not over yet," says the goalkeeper on the threshold of his new adventure.
Marco Kostmann, his goalkeeping coach in Bielefeld, attests that his model pupil has made a "great development in recent years", also "because he was never satisfied with what he had achieved".
That still applies now.Keywords: