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The triumphal arch: Courtois, the goalkeeper who does not need to be “modern” to be the best

The recent tactical development invites us to think of football as a game theme, where the midfield defines the fate of the matches. They do not lack truth, in light of the contributions of Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp. But from time to time a team, with a very old idea, remembers that in a sport with more than 150 years there are some concepts that give continuity and meaning. For example, that soccer is a sport of areas.

The real Madrid by Carlo Ancelotti has rediscovered it this season by beating the two most colorful clubs of the last five years: Manchester City and Liverpool. And to break them he has used ancient weapons: a striker turned all-terrain attacker, like Karim Benzemaand the best goalkeeper in the world protecting their interests, Thibaut Courtois.

This is not to underestimate the contribution of Casemiro, Tony Kroos or of the immense Luka modric in this feat, but to value the traditional virtues of the Belgian goalkeeper. He is not a “modern” goalkeeper, he is not expected to act as a libero or have more accuracy in passing than a ’10’. His skills are the ones that have always defined the position: positioning, reflexes, jump, drop, bail, flight, serve, reading. There is not one of the ways in which football security is expressed that is foreign to him. The psychological effect on the rival, as could be seen yesterday against Luis Díaz, Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino, is disheartening. While the sense of danger in his arc dissipated with each feat, something similar to destiny imposed his story in the “Reds”: Liverpool he kicked 24 times against his goal, of which 9 were on goal, 5 of them shots that would have been a goal against any other goalkeeper.

The real Madrid celebrates its fourteenth Champions League on a two-meter monument that at 30 years old is sufficiently full to begin to demand historical comparisons. Whoever doubts his greatness, remember this final.

Source: Elcomercio

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