Every big club needs a top goalkeeper. The debate about Real Madrid’s goalkeeping position has been open ever since the decline of the legendary Iker Casillas. The Spaniard occupied that position for 16 years, up to a point where he himself could not fill his own shoes.
After he left, we’ve seen a parade of goalies, from Diego Lopez to Keylor Navas. The latter, a fan favourite for more than three years, and rightly so. The Costa Rican pulled off some amazing performances, especially during the Champions League domination of the club.
First, he saw as he was almost traded to Manchester United, in exchange for David De Gea. He can thank the fax machine for that one. And last year, we witnessed the signing of ex-Chelsea and Atlético Madrid goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois joined Los Blancos after a brilliant World Cup with Belgium, where he was designated keeper of the tournament.
The signing divided the Real Madrid fans. Many thought the debate was sealed with a top-level keeper as is Keylor Navas. However, with Courtois’ signing, it was reopened.
The Spanish press spread for years a rumour saying that Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, had a keen eye for tall goalkeepers. Even when Iker was at his maximum level. It is believed that he considered that his club conceded many goals from set-pieces because of that element. With him signing Courtois, it was his way of finally getting what he wanted.
Truth be told, the Belgian was for long considered amongst the very best goalkeepers in Europe and the world. Regretfully, since he joined the Spanish capital, he never performed at a level worthy of a Real Madrid goalkeeper.
His statistics are absolutely terrible and the white’s fan base has started to take notice.
Last year in La Liga, Thibaut Courtois played 27 games, conceding 36 goals and only keeping a clean sheet during 8 games. In the Champions League, he took part in 5 games, enough for him to concede 8 goals. Including 4 against Ajax Amsterdam, which led to his team being knocked out.
In total, Courtois participated in 35 games last year for Real Madrid, conceding 48 goals. In any other big club, this kind of statistic might cost you your spot on the starting eleven. Keylor Navas on the other hand, played 21 games last year for Real Madrid, conceding 21 goals. An average of one goal per game.
New season, same old story
In a surprising move, during transfer deadline day, Real Madrid allowed Keylor Navas to leave for Paris Saint Germain. Courtois is now, undoubtedly Real Madrid main man.
After a disastrous season last year, the Merengues and Thibaut Courtois are looking for redemption. Many fans were counting on their team to step up, restore its image in Spain and in Europe. But to their biggest disappointment, we are seeing more of the same. However, this time many point out Thibault Courtois.
In four la Liga games he is yet to keep a clean sheet. He conceded 6 goals in 4 games. Valladolid scored on him an equalizer after one shot on target, losing his team two valuable points. Against Levante and after Real Madrid was leading three goals to nil, the Blaugrana team managed to come back to 3-2 after only two shots on target.
However, the latest humiliation came at the hands of Paris Saint Germain. Last Wednesday, the Frenchmen totally dominated Real Madrid with Courtois at fault for at least two of the three goals he conceded.
After seeing what ter Stegen does for Barcelona, or Oblak for Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid fans are furious against their own goalkeeper. It’s true that the whole team is underperforming, nonetheless, we get the feeling that Los Blancos are not allowed a single defensive error, for the sole reason that behind, there is this goalkeeper that reeks uncertainty and does not inspire confidence.
Did Real Madrid sell the wrong goalkeeper? Probably. Thibaut Courtois is yet to make his mark at the club after almost a year and a half.
This weekend’s game against Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan might be decisive for both Zinedine Zidane and Thibaut Courtois.