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Thibaut Courtois credits himself as one of the reasons behind Real Madrid’s UCL win

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Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Speaking candidly in an interview with L’Equipe (h/t MARCA), Real Madrid star Thibaut Courtois has underlined the importance of goalkeepers in the modern game, while also underlining his role in the club’s La Liga and UEFA Champions League triumphs last term.

Courtois enjoyed a stunning campaign in 2021/22 and had a major hand in the club’s success. His exploits were recognised earlier this week when he won the Yashin Trophy at the Ballon d’Or ceremony.

However, he was ranked seventh in the Ballon d’Or rankings, something that did not sit well with the former Chelsea goalkeeper.

Now, he has once again expressed his displeasure at the lack of credit given to goalkeepers, saying: “When we won the Champions League last year, it wasn’t just thanks to Vinicius, Valverde, Benzema or Rodrygo. It was also thanks to Courtois.”

Talking about the demands made of a modern-day goalkeeper, the Real Madrid ace added: “The modern goalkeeper no longer only saves goals. Here in Madrid I also have to start the plays, it is I who, with the first pass, decides how we are going to mount the attack or how we are going to get out of the rival’s pressure.”

“Today you are almost a playmaker, goalkeepers are much more important than you think.”

“Without a good goalkeeper, you don’t win a trophy. In football awards, sometimes we forget that. People vote faster for a striker who scores goals than a goalkeeper. Too bad. But we will continue to show that goalkeepers are really important,” he further added.

The 29-year-old also stated how the media is quick to highlight the mistakes made by a goalkeeper, saying: “It is often written in big letters (in the newspapers) when it is a goalkeeper who makes a mistake. 

“As soon as he makes a small mistake, they kill him and say the game was lost because of him. Sometimes we forget that the striker before He may also have missed five or six easy scoring chances.”

The Belgian international also opened up on the early phases of his career and how he decided to become a goalkeeper.

“I used to play volleyball a lot. When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was a left-back at Genk. One day, we played an indoor tournament in Germany. The coach was looking for a goalkeeper and I offered to play every game,” Courtois said.

“I was voted best goalkeeper. The following year I was still doing both. When I was 11, I didn’t want to be a goalkeeper anymore. When you’re young, you dream of scoring.”

The Belgian also spoke about how two former Chelsea managers in Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink helped him improve his footwork, saying:

“In 2015, when I injured my knee, Mourinho and Hiddink made me have a lot of possession as a free man, and that allowed me to read the game better, make better passes, play faster.”

“I’m happy when I have the ball at my feet and I can pass well. To be told that the goal started with you and with your good first pass, I like that,” he added.

On how he communicates with the defenders in front of him, Courtois said: “Sometimes I have to defend goalkeepers in front of my teammates who usually say: ‘It’s the goalkeeper’s fault’. I talk a lot with them.

“But you have to know how to do it If you talk a lot, your defenders will tell you: ‘Stop talking, it’s too much’. The most important thing is to speak at the right time and give the key words because there is a lot of noise in the stadiums.”

Finally, Courtois expressed his desire to score a goal in competitive football, as he said: “I really want to score. A few years ago, I hit a header against Valencia, the goalkeeper saved it and Karim scored. Sometimes I think that with my two meters I could score. But later, if there is a counterattack…”

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Real Madrid News

Manchester City forward rejected Real Madrid after trials – ‘Good experience, but it’s in the past’

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Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images

When Real Madrid took on Manchester City last at the Etihad Stadium, they were humbled by a 4-0 thrashing that sent them home.

The game had Manchester City written all over it as the men in blue dominated from start to finish, generating almost five times as much goal threat as Real Madrid.

The final nail in the coffin on the night was delivered by a certain Argentine sensation who had been on the field for just two minutes.

Coming on in the 89th minute, Julian Alvarez found the back of the net in the first minute of added time and secured the win for his side.

Speaking to the media ahead of his team’s second-leg clash against the Merengues, the World Cup winner revealed that he was close to signing for Real Madrid in 2011 when he was still an eleven-year-old player with no professional contract.

He played a tournament in the Real Madrid colours, impressing the administration and management and doing enough to secure a deal.

However, his dream was cut short by FIFA’s rules which implied that a player under 16 could only sign for a club if his entire family moved with him. That, however, was not an option for Alvarez’s family.

“I was there for about 20 days. I was just 11 years old. To go to Spain, all my family had to move. It’s already in the past.”

Julian Alvarez scored against Real Madrid last season. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The young striker eventually signed for River Plate where he shone across all levels to earn a move to Manchester City in 2022. He now stares at another game against the club he could have represented and is determined to give his best tomorrow.

“It was a good experience but it’s in the past. Now I’m different, I’m a professional player. If we listen to what Pep tells us to do, we are going to win,” he said on his thoughts on Real Madrid.

When asked if he would like to score tomorrow against Los Blancos, the youngster did not hesitate in admitting that it would be special for him.

“Of course, I’d love to score again. Last game I was only able to play five minutes and I scored. This time I’d love to play a bit more and of course score.”

Finally, the World Cup winner spoke on Manchester City’s goal of defending the UCL title and why it was a very demanding ask from the men in blue.

“It’s going to be hard [to retain the Champions League]. Last season was hard, this season will be hard again. But we know what we have to do and we have the things to do it again.”

“We always learn, especially winning five different competitions, we learned a lot. But we always see the next game and we always focus on winning, winning, winning the next game,” he added on the team’s approach.

Source: Manchester Evening News

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