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Real Madrid superstar sends out emotional message after being named in FIFA FIFPro World XI: “Grateful”



Photo courtesy: Getty Images

It has not been an easy six months for Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian international has been out of action for Real Madrid since August last year owing to an ACL injury he suffered in pre-season and has thus had to remain away from what he loves most – playing football.

Despite not being on the field for half a year, he was recognised and honoured at the FIFA The Best gala last night as he was voted to be the goalkeeper for the FIFA FIFPro World XI for 2023.

Courtois shares an emotional message

The Belgian’s appointment on the world’s best XI was surprising but certainly not undeserved. It was on the back of his incredible performances for Real Madrid towards the second half of last season where he led his team to a podium finish in the Copa del Rey and a respectable position in La Liga.

After the Gala, the shot-stopper shared an emotional message to the FIFA organisation to recognise his game at a difficult moment in his professional career.

“When you are for a while without doing what you know in a field, these recognitions add up to come back and do even better. Grateful!,” he said, stressing how much it meant to him via his social media.

Back on the field

As is the case with any ACL injury, the recuperative process has been very challenging for Courtois. Already out for six months, he is still nowhere close to complete fitness.

Yet, he has taken big steps in his recovery in recent months with the biggest update arriving earlier this month. As of last week, the goalkeeper returned to training on the field and even tweeted footage of his first run out on the grass.

He is expected to return to group training by late March or early April and will likely miss the EUROs to focus on his recovery and make a complete return for next season.

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Real Madrid News

Bundesliga title-winner ‘is ready for Real Madrid’, says former German great



Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with Sport BILD (h/t AS), Germany legend Michael Ballack has claimed that Bayer Leverkusen sensation Florian Wirtz is ready to play for Real Madrid.

Wirtz is a player that Real Madrid have been closely monitoring for a while now, with the German sensation being seen as a long-term replacement for Toni Kroos, who announced his retirement yesterday.

A move for Wirtz is being planned for the summer of 2025 and Ballack believes that the Bundesliga title winner with Leverkusen is ready for the big move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Wirtz is ready for Real Madrid,” said Ballack.

“In terms of football, Wirtz can definitely play for Real Madrid. You can also see it in Jude Bellingham after his move from BVB: when you play with even better players, you become even better,” he added.

The Toni Kroos replacement? (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

Wirtz has a contract with Bayer Leverkusen that runs until the summer of 2027. As things stand, the new German champions have no intentions of selling their prized asset this year.

However, there appears to be an acceptance that the German international will be on the move in 2025.

Other top clubs like Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also understood to be interested, but Real Madrid are likely to beat them in the race should it come down to that next year.

A move for Wirtz, though, could cost in excess of €100 million for Real Madrid should they do indeed decide to proceed with his signing next year.

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