Courtois: “Those who vote only look at who has won titles”

Thibaut Courtois, portero del Real Madrid.

Thibaut Courtois spoke with Jorge Valdano in an interview for the ‘Universo Valdano’ program that the versatile former Argentine player presents on Movistar Plus+. During the talk, recorded in the Real Madrid City projection room in Valdebebas, the Real Madrid goalkeeper recalled his beginnings in the world of football and how he reached the position of goalkeeper. He expresses that he arrived on loan to Atlético de Madrid out of conviction due to the interest that the rojiblancos had shown. And he is confident that next season will see the best version of his compatriot Eden Hazard. “I’ve heard him say, ‘Next year is going to be my year,'” he says.

Did volleyball lead you to goalkeeper status?: “Yes, 100%, as a child I played volleyball and we had a beach volleyball court at home and I would like to play. At Genk they rotated us in all positions to try and they offered me to play goalkeeper in a tournament in Germany. I repeated a year later and they told me that they saw me more as a goalkeeper than on the side. That’s how I repositioned myself”.

Is he the best goalkeeper in the world?: “One of the best would say yes. Then to say if I am the best is the opinion of the public. There are five or ten goalkeepers at a super-high level and then there are moments in the season. The saves with a 0-0 or a 1-0 they have more merit. A few months ago there was a review that didn’t even put me in the top ten”.

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Photo by Courtois

Progress with footwork: “At Genk we did play more from behind. At Atlético and Mourinho’s Chelsea it was a different style, more with a long ball. But I was never lame with my feet.”

Do you feel recognized? “Yes, for the madridistas for sure. The last two and a half years I’ve been at a very high level. This year it shows because I’ve made many more saves at key moments. And not just from the madridistas, it shows in the press, in the from Spain and also abroad. Some of those who vote for the individual awards don’t know what it’s like to stand under a goal, they only look at who has won titles and who hasn’t. There are great retired goalkeepers who could vote for that. Three years ago they gave me many clubs, but I know that this is football and Real Madrid”.

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Discussion with Keylor upon arrival: “I wasn’t at my best level and I had to improve more.”

Importance of the public: “This year’s comebacks, last season we would not have done them without the public. The public has pushed us to that point and scares the rival. I want the works to be finished, because the Bernabéu is going to be incredible and amazing for us”.

“Last season, without the public, we would not have made these comebacks; the public pushes us and scares the rival”

Courtois, Madrid goalkeeper

Decision to go and stay at Atlético: “If I don’t make the decision to go to Atlético, I don’t think I’d be here today. They gave me three years and at Chelsea they didn’t expect me to be back two years later. I asked to stay the last year because I felt that with Atlético I could fight for the League or the Champions League and in the end it happened. Those decisions helped me to be the goalkeeper that I am now”.

The goal that Ramos conceded in Lisbon: “The first two or three years he played a lot of jokes on me. Every time we played the Champions League, Real Madrid TV showed the Lisbon final… Maybe we were in the massage room with the physios, they scored the goal and he came to tell me: ‘Take Tibu!’ It was the only place where I could score a goal, I didn’t come close. It was hard, because we won the League, unbelievably, and a week later the jug of cold water hits you. It’s not the same as scoring in 75′ and you end up losing to them putting it in discount. It was a detail that fell from Madrid that day. I hope to win that trophy now with Madrid. It would be the most beautiful thing for me”.

Shield/Flag Real Madrid

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Champions League

*Data updated as of May 23, 2022

Coaches at Chelsea: “When I retire I will have a good record of incredible coaches: Simeone, Mourinho, Hiddink, Conte, Lopetegui, Zidane, Ancelotti… You learn a lot. I don’t know if I want to be a coach, but understand football…”

Childhood idols: “In the beginning it was Iker [Casillas]. Then I looked more at Van der Sar, because it was my style. I saw Iker when he made his debut. Because of him, I really liked Madrid and watched the league games”.

Courtois: "Those who vote only look at who has won titles"

“I like Madrid because of Casillas”

Courtois, on his references in childhood

Signing for Real Madrid: “I love Madrid. You can understand things from the perspective of both teams. It’s fun to see it from both sides. Although at the Wanda they tell me and throw everything at me, people on the street greet me. They can make a joke of you, but then they congratulate you on your successes. That’s the beauty of football, although later in the stadium there may be rivalry. My departure from Chelsea was not well explained. I won two Premier Leagues in four years, which is difficult. I have good memories of the Chelsea, but my heart was in Madrid, also because of my family situation.”

Turning point in his beginnings in Madrid: “The difference was in the game in Istanbul against Galatasaray, which we had to win and I made three very important saves in the first half. That’s when Roberto Martínez told me that he saw the Tibu he knew again. If you don’t know how to play with the pressure that there is at Real Madrid, you can’t see it well”.

Comebacks this season: “Those Champions nights at the Bernabéu are something I have never experienced. Since arriving at the stadium through that sea of ​​people. You see people screaming and you think that today we cannot fail. The atmosphere in the stadium is incredible. The stadium is impressive much”.

The final against Liverpool: “It is a team that plays very well, has a lot of speed and presses very well. The difference is that it is a final, in a neutral stadium. It is something incredible to be able to play those finals, in which everyone watches, even those that do not see football. I will remain calm, as always. You have that pressure, but not because there are more people. For me it is to try to make the same good games that I have made this season”.

“We play for these games and these moments and hopefully win them. If you’re not in here, you can’t explain it. Liverpool have played two finals against Chelsea. They’re a team with a different style, but in recent years they’ve always been up there” .

“I’ve heard Hazard say: ‘Next year is going to be my year’

Courtois, about his compatriot Eden.

Do you analyze forwards?: “Yes, I see it in the videos with the team and before each game they give me an iPad. For me it’s the same as playing against other teams.”

World Cup Year: “We have a great team, great players. But we are getting older, there are changes in the team. In 2018 nobody thought that Croatia was going to reach a final. There are always surprises. It is a difficult road, but we have to beat everyone to get there In the European Championship we were not on our way.

hazard: “I’m sure we got him back for the cause. I never got off his ship. I understand that he is doubted, because he hasn’t given what is expected of him. The injury he suffered against PSG was a shame, because he he was already reaching his level and that changed everything a little. With the operation that has been done now, I see him very well in training. If the problem has been resolved, he will be there. I heard him say: ‘The next year is going to be my year.’ That he feels that way is positive.”


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