Thibaut Courtois’ time at Real Madrid has been full of ups and downs.
The Belgian initially struggled to displace Keylor Navas as Los Blancos’ first-choice goalkeeper but did eventually earn a regular place in the starting line-up.
Thanks to a series of shaky performances since, though, he hasn’t been able to make it stick.
Real Madrid’s disastrous 2018-19 season was particularly hard on Courtois, and his reputation has subsequently taken serious damage.
Much to the dismay of many Real Madrid fans, Zinedine Zidane has seemingly backflipped on earlier indications he would be open to rotating Courtois and Navas.
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“Keylor - I like him but I like Courtois as well,” the Frenchman said in March after playing Navas instead of Courtois against Celta Vigo, per Goal.
“Thibaut has shown that he is a great goalkeeper but I want Keylor to feel important too. Madrid need two, three, four great keepers. So the coach always has the problem.
“You cannot contest four, five or six competitions with just one great goalkeeper.”
Well, rather than bolstering their options between the sticks, Madrid sold Navas to Paris Saint-Germain for £13.5 million while getting Alphonse Areola on loan in return.
The Frenchman has only three international caps to date, yet might well fancy his chances of supplanting Courtois this season.
After ending his debut campaign in the Spanish capital with 1.37 goals conceded per match (compared to 0.81 across his three years at Atletico Madrid), Courtois’ poor form has spilt into the new term.
The 27-year-old picked the ball out of his net at least once in each of his three appearances so far, stretching his run of league matches without a clean sheet to 11 - the longest run of his career.
In all 30 of his La Liga appearances for Real, Courtois has let in 40 goals, kept eight clean sheets and recorded a modest save percentage of 65 (compared to 70 at Chelsea and 72 at Atletico).
No matter which way you look at his statistics, the former Genk prodigy clearly needs to improve if he wants to remain top dog at Madrid.
Zidane needs consistency - especially at the back - if his side are to have any chance of returning to the level they enjoyed throughout his first spell at the club.News Now - Sport News