Football News

Thibaut Courtois feels Spanish press have “tried to kill” him since trading Chelsea for Real

By William Eldridge

Published: 15:49, 23 March 2019

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois still believes he is one of the best despite the Spanish press “wanting to kill him”.

The former Chelsea shot-stopper has struggled for form this season with his starting place now under pressure following the return of former manager Zinedine Zidane.

Is Courtois the best? Five things you need to know…

  1. Courtois moved to Real Madrid last summer from Chelsea for a reported £31.50m.
  2. Benched for the first two La Liga games of the season, Courtois has since made 24 league appearances, conceding 30 goals.
  3. Zidane dropped Courtois for his first game back in charge, with former number one Keylor Navas starting in Madrid’s 2-0 victory against Celta Vigo.
  4. Courtois made a big error for Belgium in their 3-1 win against Russia in the Euro 2020 qualifiers on Thursday.
  5. The Belgian hasn’t kept a clean sheet for both club and country since February 3, a run of eight games.

In Belgium’s most recent game, Courtois gifted Russia a goal, taking too long on the ball inside his own area and allowing Artem Dzyuba to pressure him into a mistake, leading to Denis Cheryshev’s equaliser.

And, talking to the press following his mistake for Belgium on Thursday Courtois discussed his views on where he stands among the best goalkeepers of today.

Making his feelings clear, the 26-year-old believes he is still one of the very best goalkeepers out there, despite the fact the Spanish press “want to kill him” on a regular basis.

He said: “I still consider myself one of the best, despite the Spanish press wanting to kill me.

“I feel very strong. I’m calm because I train well and play well.

“It was a small mistake, but that’s the life of a goalkeeper. Despite that, afterwards I stayed calm and played my game.”

Tough road ahead for Courtois?

The former Chelsea shot-stopper was proving his worth at Stamford Bridge before he decided to swap his home for a sunnier climate last summer.

After reportedly refusing to return to training in pre-season in order to get his dream move to Madrid, Courtois finally got his wish, with the Blues replacing him with Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Since then, Madrid and Courtois have struggled, with the club nowhere near challenging for the La Liga title and knocked out of the Champions League following a 4-1 defeat at home to Ajax.

With Zidane potentially preferring Navas over the Belgian, Courtois may have to fight to get back into the starting line-up.

For Belgium, Courtois has a fixture away to Cyprus on Sunday to help rid himself of any demons following his error the other evening.

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