Real Madrid: 3 MOTM candidates against Atalanta

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

GK Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois is reaching the heights he hit in the second half of the 2019-2020 season, and he is peaking at the right time for Real Madrid. The experienced goalkeeper had one of the best performances of the season by a keeper in La Liga over the weekend at Real Valladolid, making a ridiculous series of saves in the first 10 minutes to prevent Los Merengues from going down early.

Atalanta will surely test Courtois time after time again. They have several midfielders who can test Courtois from range, and this is a team that knows how to work that threat into higher-percentage chances by flooding the box. Duvan Zapata’s hold-up play is a nightmare to contend with and offers shooting opportunities to everyone around him. And you only have to watch the match against Napoli to see how precise of a finisher Luis Muriel, who has 14 goals this season despite not being a full-time starter, is.

But that all means that Courtois can have the game of his life. We have seen him stand tall in the face of clear-cut counterattacks and produce saves from long-distance shots that make the extraordinary look routine.

He is as strong as a Man of the Match contender as anyone on either team in this matchup. Courtois is world-class, and he is ready to lead the league in clean sheets again. That readiness should carry over into the Champions League Round of 16.