Real Madrid: 3 MOTM candidates against Villarreal

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

GK Thibaut Courtois

For me, the first man who jumps out as a game-saver – not just a game-changer – for Real Madrid is the man between the sticks, Thibaut Courtois.

I’m not willing to say that Courtois is a better goalkeeper than Jan Oblak, because Atletico Madrid’s keeper is truly something else. Think of all the times he has denied Los Blancos when a goal looked guaranteed.

But I am willing to make two claims. Firstly, that Courtois had a better 2019-2020 season than Oblak, given his superior save percentage. And secondly, that Courtois may very well be second to Oblak when ranking Europe’s best goalkeepers.

Courtois has been solid to start the 2020-2021 season, keeping Real Madrid in some games that they otherwise had no business winning. The defense has let him down, unfortunately, which is the only reason why he isn’t leading the league in goalkeeping statistics this season. Otherwise, his play has not dropped off.

You can look at Saturday’s match at Villarreal in one of two ways. You could be a pessimist and say that Courtois is screwed, because he will be left for the vultures without any healthy center backs. But you could also look at it another way. You could say that Courtois has a chance to prove to the entire world how amazing he is by denying the likes of Paco Alcacer and Gerard Moreno goals in a performance that defines his greatness.

I am sure an athlete of Courtois’ caliber and with Courtois’ resiliency will take the latter approach. And with that mentality, I do not doubt for a second that he could pull off some miracle saves at the Estadio de la Ceramica.