Pep Guardiola Manchester City to the Champions League final with a 4-0 win over Real Madrid. The performance of the Citizens deserves a lot of credit, especially when you do that against the 14-time European champions in the semi-finals of the competition. Of course, it was a major disappointment for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Not only were they eliminated but the manner of their exit will raise questions about the future of Ancelotti as well. In fact, the scoreline could have easily been worse if not for the brilliance of Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois was by far the best player on the pitch for Real Madrid. He did incredibly well to keep a number of efforts from Manchester City out but ultimately, saw the ball find the back of his net on four occasions.
Despite handing the opposition a 4-0 defeat, Guardiola was full of praise for Courtois after the game. In fact, he believes that the Belgian goalkeeper would have been a deserved Ballon d’Or winner last year. As reported by Tribuna, the Manchester City manager told Movistar:
"“Last year they gave the Ballon d’Or to Benzema, but had it been Courtois, it would’ve also been deserved.”"
Guardiola claims Real Madrid player deserved Ballon d’Or
Historically, it has been very difficult for goalkeepers to compete for the Ballon d’Or. As a result, it was no surprise that Courtois did not win or finish higher in the award rankings.
He certainly was one of the best players on the planet last season and saved his best performance for the Champions League final against Liverpool, which Real Madrid won 1-0 to capture the competition for a record 14th time. It is great to see that Courtois has continued to perform at a very high level this season as well.
Let’s see what the future holds for Real Madrid. The club need reinforcements all over the pitch but one position where they are completely secure is goalkeeper, with Courtois between the sticks.