The real madrid miracle in this Champions not understood without Thibaut Courtois, the giant of almost two meters tall with white gloves who seems to be the superhero of Real Madrid that today rejoices with the fourteenth Champions League. As influential as Karim Benzema, as important as the Vinicius goal… as big as Madrid itself.
Before him Liverpool At the Stade de France, the Belgian made nine saves -seven inside the box-, something never seen before in a Champions League final. Edwin van der Sar against Barcelona in 2009 and Alisson against Tottenham in 2019 made eight, according to the statistician’s data Mr Chip. Thibaut outclassed them.
The miraculous night of the Belgian, chosen by UEFA as the best of the match for obvious reasons, was also the summary of what this Champions League has been for Real, in which he has been forced to make 61 saves in 13 games -received 14 goals-, a mark that no other goalkeeper has ever been able to add.
“I had the feeling that nobody could score a goal for me today”Thibaut Courtois said at a press conference. He felt like a superhero. It was confirmed on the field by Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah, the Liverpool duo who got tired of scoring goals but couldn’t against the Belgian giant. And Carlo Ancelotti knew it, old fox, with that wisdom that his 62 years give him and that experience of being the only coach with four ‘Orejonas’ in his house. “I told him: Thibaut, I’ll take you to the final and then you win the final”he told the same conference while the goalkeeper nodded.
Courtois He arrived in Madrid in June 2018, the season after Real Madrid won the three-time European championship, from Chelsea and with a past at Atlético de Madrid that condemned him. Four years later, he became the great protagonist of the fourteenth.
A past that condemns
“Now I’m on the bright side of history”, he said on the eve of the final, recalling in public that 2014 Champions League final in which he defended Atlético de Madrid and lost to Real Madrid. A statement that did not sit well with the mattress fans.
Thibaut Courtois, perhaps unintentionally, turned against his former fan in an effort to win over the new one. However, his words made many remember when it was the other way around, when he took the microphone in full celebration after winning the Copa del Rey by winning the final against nothing more than the merengue team.
“Jump, jump, jump, little kangaroo. And to the madridistas that they give them for c ***”sang the goalkeeper, showing himself to be more anti-Madrid than ever and unleashing the celebration of his people, those who today see him with angry eyes.
Thibaut went from one sidewalk to another in 2018. From mattress hero to villain. And in the White House they looked at him out of the corner of their eyes. But today, he is the great hero of Real Madrid who forgot his insults and celebrates his incredible saves. And he finally knows how much the ‘Orejona’ weighs.