‘Buffon never won the Champions League’: Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois after UCL final heroics

Published on May 29, 2022 12:18 PM IST

Thibaut Courtois was named man-of-the-match for his stellar show.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois celebrates with the UCL trophy(AFP)
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois celebrates with the UCL trophy(AFP)

A 1-0 victory over England giants Liverpool helped LaLiga champions Real Madrid secure their 14th European title in Paris. Vinicius Jr, the usual suspect, scored the only goal of the match but it was Thibaut Courtois' excellence that played a key role in Madrid's triumph in Paris.

The Belgian number one produced a series of saves, nine in total, throughout the 90 minutes, to deny Liverpool avenge their 2018 Champions League final defeat, which is mostly remembered for a nightmarish performance by Loris Karius.

Courtois was named man-of-the-match for his stellar show. Speaking after collecting the award, the Madrid number one picked his favourite save out of the nine and recalled his days in England, when he was Chelsea's number one, lamenting how he didn't get the respect he deserved.

"The most important was the save from Mane. I really had to use my two metres to get there and turn fast to get the rebound," Courtois was quoted as saying by AFP in their report.

The 30-year-old remarkable show began almost over a decade ago when he won the Belgian league in 2011 with Genk alongside a young Kevin De Bruyne.

Soon after this, many domestic titles followed, which saw him win top-tier competition in Spain with Atletico Madrid and Real, and in England with Chelsea, which also include a Europa League triumph while playing under Diego Simeone during his stint with the red and white half of Madrid.

Sharing his thoughts on the immense success after adding the most covetous Champions League winner in his resume, the Belgian said: "It is one of the nicest feelings in my life along with the birth of my children.

"Buffon is maybe the greatest goalkeeper in history but he never won the Champions League. I didn't want that to happen to me."

After serving four years at the Stamford Bridge, Courtois returned to Spain for a second stint and this time with the more popular club of Madrid. It didn't take long for him to replace Keylor Navas, who is currently employed by Ligue1 winners Paris Saint-Germain.

However, the Belgian opened up about his treatment in in England, stating that he didn't feel respected in the country.

"There was a magazine in England that didn't put me in the top 10 goalkeepers in the world. That is a lack of respect, I am not saying they have to put me number one but not to put me in the top 10 is strange.

"I twice won the Premier League in England with Chelsea and don't think I ever get recognised, and in my first season in Madrid a lot of people laughed at me but now here I am as a winner and it's a nice feeling," the 30-year-old said.

Courtois' nine saves in Paris is the most by a goalkeeper in a Champions League final.


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