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



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

€40 million midfielder prefers a move to Real Madrid over Premier League clubs – report



The race for Jude Bellingham has become tightly contested in recent weeks. Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid all pursue the Borussia Dortmund star closely and hope to win his signing come June.

Given the heavy competition, it is natural that the clubs have alternative names on their tables. One such name on the radars of the aforementioned clubs is Celta Vigo’s Gabri Veiga.

The La Liga midfielder has offers from the Premier League for the summer. However, SER reports that the player has asked Real Madrid if they will match the offer from England and has displayed his interest in joining the club.

Veiga’s release clause with Celta Vigo is valued at €40 million. If the Merengues can match such a valuation, either through direct means or player exchanges, the young phenom will don white next season.

Real Madrid have followed Veiga’s profile for a while now and have made their interest in his signing known to his environment. Yet, the Spanish outlet also adds that Veiga’s potential arrival in June would not close the doors for Jude Bellingham’s signing.

Rafa Marin of Real Madrid Castilla is a player who interests Celta Vigo, and unsurprisingly is one of the names on Los Blancos’ table to utilise in a swap deal for Veiga. Yet, it is safe to say that talks of a player exchange are in a rudimentary stage.

The 20-year-old Spanish phenom has lit up La Liga this season. In 25 appearances for Celta Vigo this season, he has scored nine goals and provided three assists. He averages close to one key pass per game and has created five big chances in his league campaign.

With Los Blancos unwilling to let go of Bellingham’s pursuit irrespective of Veiga’s signing, the question will boil down to the financial leeway the Merengues have and whether they can afford to shell out €40 million in addition to the Englishman’s fee.

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