Goalkeepers. An often forgotten breed of footballers, especially in a sport where goal scorers are king, yet the shot stoppers can be the difference between three points and a draw.

Yet, every big club these days has a top quality goalkeeper: Liverpool have Alisson, Manchester City have Ederson, Marc-André ter Stegen is at Barcelona and Jan Oblak is at Atlético Madrid. Even Manchester United have David De Gea.

However, at Real Madrid, the position has been problematic for a while.

The desire to sign the aforementioned United goalkeeper became an obsession for Florentino Pérez, and only a broken fax machine stopped that from happening.

The focus then shifted to Thibaut Courtois, which ended up happening in 2018, but that marriage has been anything but successful.

A mediocre campaign last year didn’t win him many favours, and Zinedine Zidane’s return at the helm wasn’t the best of news for the Belgian, who had a special affinity for the Costa Rican.

However, with Paris Saint-Germain in need of a top goalkeeper, Pérez decided to trust Courtois, his expensive signing, fully, and sent the 32-year-old to France, collecting Alphonse Aréola on loan as backup in exchange.

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Unfortunately, that hasn’t gone to plan, as Courtois has once again struggled in the early games of the season, culminating in him coming off at half-time against Club Brugge when Real Madrid were 2-0 down, albeit to illness.

The fact Areola then came in and made a crucial stop that helped kick off the comeback down hasn’t helped the Belgium international’s cause, and Mundo Deportivo‘s Julián Redondo makes a big deal about it on Thursday, saying it even ‘deepened the tomb of the Belgian’.

He points out the excessive emotions of Real Madrid fans, stating that ‘each victory deserves a bottle of wine being uncorked, each step forward in the table becomes a baptism met with excessive euphoria, whereas each stumble is a funeral, inviting a recurrent depression that in Madrid invites the decapitation of heroes (who have been so for one day), who each have an expiration date’.

Zidane’s goalkeeper was Keylor Navas, but he was seen as a ‘goalkeeper heading towards retirement’, while the 27-year-old Belgian was signed ‘for six seasons because he was the best goalkeeper at the World Cup’.

The issue here seems to be that Courtois falls into the category of the Ter Stegens and the Oblaks, the ones who ‘perform miracles’.

The Real Madrid man seems to now be a part of the ‘others who do what they can and therefore don’t win games’, and, as previously pointed out, doesn’t have the best of relationships with the club’s fans.


Redondo’s and Mundo Deportivo’s views aside, the way things are going for Courtois at the Santiago Bernabéu, he might need one of those miracles he so desperately needs to perform to get everyone back on his side.

As pointed out above, everyone at Real Madrid is on a relatively short leash, and while Pérez’s protection helps a lot, it isn’t all-encompassing.

If Areola starts performing better in Courtois’ absence (he’s expected to miss the game against Granada this weekend), he might quickly find himself sat on the bench sooner rather than later.