Sun. May 22nd, 2022

Nwosu Chizoba David

It is well known that Courtois’ work is not valued as it should be, and he is a pillar of the tea. There are lots of stars at Madrid, like Benzema, Modric and Kroos, and they would not have won without him.

Last Sunday night, Courtois made two superb saves against Sevilla, just the latest in a long list. Four days later, he denied Athletic. Two games Madrid really could have lost; two games they somehow won, quietly climbing seven points clear at the top of the table.

At the end of it, Athletic’s manager Marcelino said: “I’ve been in football a very long time and I’ve never seen anything like it.” His team could have scored six. Some of it was terrible finishing, some of it was excellent defending — Lucas Vazquez in particular produced a superb block — and some of it was the obligatory, daily magic from Courtois. Athletic’s sporting director Rafa Alkorta said, “He was phenomenal. He kept the game alive.” As for Athletic’s own keeper, Simon insisted: “There’s not enough appreciation of Courtois.”

“You can say that we have a goalkeeper,” Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said, smiling. You can, yeah.

This was after a game against Sevilla, but it could have been Rotterdam, Liverpool, Rome or anywhere, really. Every week, every game, good, bad or indifferent, there’s at least one astonishing save from Thibaut Courtois. Sometimes they don’t really need it; sometimes they really, really do. But either way, it’s always there.

Real Madrid have won seven games in a row. Without him, they wouldn’t have. All of them have seen a Courtois save, seemingly a statutory requirement now, no match complete without one.

By Nwosu Chizoba David

Nwosu Chizoba David is a soccer lover and writer. He is a graduate of Biological Sciences, presently teaching in a secondary in Lagos.

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