Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois has claimed his status as “one of the best goalkeepers in the world” brought unwarranted criticism in the early part of the new campaign.
Courtois bore a large share of the blame for Madrid’s disappointing results at the start of the 2019-20 season, at one stage conceding nine goals in the space of 14 shots on target.
His performances prompted debate over the club’s decision to part with Keylor Navas – who moved to Paris Saint-Germain this summer– but the Belgium international has since rediscovered some of his best form.
The former Chelsea man has kept eight successive clean sheets for club and country, restoring his reputation as one of the game’s finest keepers.
Ahead of Belgium’s latest round of Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures, Courtois has fired back at his critics, insisting he has been targeted unfairly due to his ability.
“I don’t read the press, I only pay attention to what the coach or my team-mates say to me,” he told reporters.
“If they haven’t been a goalkeeper themselves, how can they know how it all works?
“I don’t doubt my own ability. I am one of the best goalkeepers in the world and sometimes that’s why they criticise me. I’m calm about it because I made some good saves against Celta [Vigo], Sevilla and Atletico [Madrid], and in other games.
— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) November 13, 2019
“I’m playing at a good level, it’s turning out to be a good start to the season and I have to continue this way.”
Last month, Zinedine Zidane substituted Courtois at half-time of the Champions League draw with Club Brugge, leading Madrid to issue a denial of reports which claimed the 27-year-old was dealing with an anxiety problem.
Courtois skipped the following La Liga match against Granada before returning in a 1-0 loss to Real Mallorca.
The shot-stopper added on his relationship with the Madrid boss: “Zidane told me that I’d continue as first-choice, and asked me to keep focused. He’s always had faith in me.”
Madrid will be back in action after the international break, with Real Sociedad set to arrive at Santiago Bernabeu on November 23.