After a stunning Man of the Match outing that inspired Real Madrid to victory over Liverpool in Saturday’s Champions League final, Thibaut Courtois took a shot at his critics, demanding they “put more respect” on his name.
The former Chelsea shot-stopper’s anger was particularly aimed at English fans and media, who he clearly felt had given him a rough ride during his time at Stamford Bridge.
There were no holes to be poked in the Belgian’s exceptional performance at the Stade de France, however, as former England internationals Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand were full of praise for the ‘keeper in their post-match analysis for BT Sport.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds peppered the Real goal with shots throughout the 90 minutes. Top scorer Mohamed Salah had nine efforts for the Merseyside giants alone.
On a tension-filled night in Paris, Courtois managed to keep a cool head for the duration, rewriting the competition’s record books in the process.
According to the stats gurus over at Opta, the Los Blancos number one made nine saves on the night – the most in any Champions League final since records began (in 2003/04).
Vinicius Jr might have been the man to bag the decisive goal for Real. Without Courtois and his string of crucial interventions, though, things could have ended very differently for the La Liga champions.
Among his best work was a fingertip save to deny Sadio Mane in the first half, as well as a couple of sensational stops to thwart Salah late in the match. You can check out full highlights of his Parisian masterclass below.
Watch: Courtois foils Liverpool with epic display in Champions League final
Speaking live to millions of viewers across England, the BT Sport panel were in awe of Courtois’s herculean effort.
“The one he flicked on to the post from Mane was of the saves of the game, began Owen. “There was another from Salah, too. The size of the man. He’s absolutely huge and when you can get down like that, you’re one of the world’s best.”
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“We were looking at each other in disbelief,” added Ferdinand. “Like ‘wow, how has he got there?’
“The way that he moved his body and feet, he looked like a man possessed today.”
Gerrard agreed: “He [Courtois] totally deserved to be Man of the Match. He’s saved nine shots today. One from Mane was world-class and his save from Salah was the best of the lot… just phenomenal.”
"This was an inspired performance from the very start of the game." @rioferdy5, @themichaelowen and Steven Gerrard are in awe of— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 28, 2022
Thibaut Courtois' display tonight! ⛔️#UCLfinal pic.twitter.com/ZGG1F91qCp
After a season that looked for a while as though it might deliver an unprecedented quadruple of trophies, Liverpool fans will undoubtedly be disappointed to end the campaign with just a domestic cup double to their credit.
Arguably, their efforts across the season deserved better. With that said, so outstanding was Courtois on Saturday evening that it would have been equally harsh for him to have to make the journey back to Spain without the Champions League trophy in tow.
Real Madrid win Champions League! (Reaction via The Football Terrace)