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Courtois: “My dream was to win the Champions League and I fulfilled it by playing a key role"

NEWS STORY. 21/10/2022

“It’s nice to receive this award and it motivates me to keep working hard and improving”, he told Realmadrid TV about the Yashin Trophy.

Thibaut Courtois was interviewed on Realmadrid TV after he was awarded the Yashin Trophy in Paris. The Belgian provided an in-depth analysis of the season when he won the Champions League, LaLiga and Spanish Super Cup for our club: “The final of the Decimocuarta was a game where I made several crucial and almost impossible saves. It was the nicest moment of the season after so much hard work and sacrifice. It was like seeing the benefits of all my hard work over the season. It was the best game by Courtois for Real Madrid”.

“My dream was to win the Champions League and being so decisive and winning the Man of the Match at home is something that will become history for me and for the club. Life continues and a new season starts, but when I retire, I’ll realise what I did on that day”.

The best goalkeeper in the world
“It was great to hear it like that, officially. I play for Real Madrid and only the best play here. Ultimately, I have to help my team to win trophies and when you do it you know you have become the best. This award is great, but only when the team wins trophies. It's nice to look at it every day and it motivates you to keep working hard, to win more trophies and to continue improving”.
The penalty save at the Parc des Princes
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game. They’d pressed us a lot during the first half and I’d made a few saves. At the beginning of the second-half I made a few more. I was feeling confident and I wanted to keep a clean sheet. When the penalty was awarded and I saw that Messi is going to take it, I looked to Llopis and thought about what we’d said before the game. He thought the same side as I did and I threw myself to that side. It was an important save because it gave us the confidence to withstand the pressure from PSG and in the end it was a good result for the return leg at the Bernabéu”.
The save to deny Azpilicueta at Stamford Bridge
“In that moment, we were 1-3 up and Chelsea were pressing. When I saw he was going to shoot I took a step to the left and then used my large frame to make the save. Those saves are pleasing on the eye. The ball was heading for the top corner and it’s pleasing to be able to save it to help ensure the result stayed at 1-3 for the return leg. We made it through thanks to that result and you know those saves were important”.

Return leg against Chelsea at the Bernabéu
“It was a really difficult day because Chelsea were much more dangerous in attack. We kept our calm and kept it together. The save from the corner was important and it gave us the faith to know that we were still alive. Then Modrić showed his quality with that pass to Rodrygo. In the team, there’s a mix of youth and experience. Each player knows how to manage the game until the final minute and that was seen throughout the season”.

The tie against Manchester City
“It the first minute I made a great save to deny Bernardo Silva. There was a lot of adrenaline and emotion, a lot of key saves, a lot of desire to win and to give everything until the last second. The save to stop Grealish with my foot was something we had trained. You never know if it will happen, but it did. On those days before the games, you train well and you feel you’re in good shape”.

“The fans didn’t stop encouraging us, even at 0-1. When Rodrygo scored the first goal and they said there are six minutes left, it’s difficult to explain, but the people that were in the stands know what I’m talking about. When we reached extra-time, I felt it was going to be our day with the fans”.

Key moments in LaLiga
“The game against Sevilla was crucial because if we hadn’t won there, both Sevilla and Barcelona could have closed the gap on us. In that game we saw how much faith the team has. After such a difficult first half, when we were losing 2-0, we began to fight back and take the game to them. That game not only helped us win the league, but also gave us the confidence we needed in the Champions League and to produce those comebacks”.

Saves in LaLiga
“There were a lot of good saves, but I remember the one against Atlético at home, when I saved the ball with my face at the end; the one against Sevilla, when they came at us several times; the one against Athletic at home when the game was close; the double save against Rayo and then we made it 1-0 straight after. It’s difficult to pick just one. I also remember the one against Villarreal when Danjuma’s low shot came in to the left. That’s when my height counts, but I get down quickly”.
On the run of not conceding
“That run was important and it shows how difficult it is to score goals against us. If you then have players like Karim, a Vini Jr. and Rodrygo ahead of you, you know you’re going to score a lot of goals and that the opposition will find it difficult to score. That makes it difficult for the opponents. As a goalkeeper, it gives you more confidence and you think nobody will score against you. It’s important to feel like that. That period was important, but it wasn’t the best part of the season, that came later”.

Demands from Real Madrid
“The beginning here can be more difficult because there’s a lot of pressure and every little thing is looked at carefully. Every Real Madrid game is Watched all over the world and as a goalkeeper you have to be strong mentally because sometimes only one save is necessary for your team to win. You have to be focussed for the entire 90 minutes so that you’re ready when that moment comes. As a goalkeeper, it’s satisfying to feel that when they attack you make an important save and then your team wins. This makes you feel like a good goalkeeper”. 
“Part of it is genetic. My parents played volleyball and I’ve always liked to dive. Then the training helps, obviously. Your body has to be agile and flexible to be able to throw yourself to the ground quickly. I’m two metres tall and if you get down quickly like a smaller keeper, you get an advantage of 10 or 15 centimetres to reach the ball. That’s one of my qualities”.

Family support
“My parents are really happy and proud. They’ve been with me since I was a child and that’s what I teach my son, who’s here in the academy. They make the effort to take you and you know that you have to work and make sacrifices. It's a long road, with plenty of ups and downs. There’re less beautiful moments and they suffer with you. They’ve brought me this far with their education and it's nice to share these moments with them".