Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has cut a frustrated figure at the Santiago Bernabeu this season, and he’s reportedly not happy with the way the fans have treated him.

It isn’t easy playing for Real Madrid. Pressure comes at players from all sides, whether it’s the media, the fans, management, or even just the weight of expectations that comes with playing for such a prestigious club that has won so much. Larger than life legends have worn the team’s kit, which can make it difficult for some players to feel like they are living up to expectations.

Superstar wingers Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard have been in the headlines recently due to the external and internal pressures that come with playing in the Spanish capital, but perhaps no player has been more closely scrutinized than Thibaut Courtois.

Much of the criticism directed at the goalkeeper, who was once in the argument as the best in the world while at Chelsea, seems to be harsh scapegoating. For example, Courtois received jeers and social media hate when Real went down 2-0 against Club Brugge in the Champions League, but the defensive breakdowns leading to both goals were honestly not his fault.

Courtois would be substituted at the half due to a stomach illness, which was initially reported as anxiety before the club denied the rumours. And before those rumours of an anxiety attack surfaced, fans simply believed Zinedine Zidane removed his first-choice keeper due to perceived incompetence – which would have been a ridiculous decision to waste a substitute.

The Mirror are now reporting that Courtois has headed into the international break with anger at the fan base for how he was booed and jeered at the Bernabeu against Brugge. As per the Mirror, this anger, combined with the stomach illness, played a role in Alphonse Areola receiving the start against Granada. Areola, for what it’s worth, did nothing to differentiate himself from Courtois in this possible position battle at goalkeeper, as he made a critical mistake that led to a penalty for Granada’s first goal.

It’s hard to know how much credence to put into this report, since we’ve honestly heard it all when it pertains to Courtois’ situation. The narrative has shifted from anxiety to anger, and it’s even more difficult to know where the information is coming from.

But at the end of the day, a few things are clear. Courtois is a quality goalkeeper, even if he hasn’t played at his best in a Real Madrid kit. Courtois deserves much better from the fans, as nobody should be subjected to this type of animosity. And thirdly, Courtois has become a target whenever something goes wrong for Real, which needs to stop. Being critical of Courtois is important, but it seems like Los Blancos fans are crossing the line.

Again, putting too much stock into one report can be dangerous, and Courtois should be back on track for October’s games, including El Clasico. He’s still the first-choice goalkeeper and has the quality to be one of the best at his position, but more support from Real Madrid fans could go a long way in helping him.