Real Madrid Champions League hero Thibaut Courtois fires back at ‘humbled’ claims

Liverpool v Real Madrid: Champions League final pictures

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Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has hit back at claims he was going to get ‘humbled’ against Liverpool and insisted he has now earned the ‘respect’ he felt he didn’t get in England after his spell at Chelsea. The Belgian put in a stunning, man-of-the-match performance to inspire his side’s 1-0 win in the Champions League final over Liverpool.

After the match, he said to BT Sport: “I saw a lot of tweets saying I would get humbled. It was the other way round. Today I needed to win a final – for my career, for all the hard work, to put respect on my name because I don’t think I have enough respect, especially England. I saw a lot of criticism that I was not good enough or whatever.

“Thank you very much. I said at the press conference yesterday that when Madrid play in finals, they win.

“I’m just really happy and proud of the performance of the team, and when I needed to be there I was there for the team. We have beaten the best clubs in the world, together with us. Liverpool were very strong today. I think I played a great game and that was the difference.”

Courtois made several stunning stops, but two in particular from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. In the first half, the Belgian stopper showed great reactions to push Mane’s effort onto the post.

Courtois then made another astonishing save in the second half, palming away Salah’s powerful effort after the Liverpool star had shown great control and pace to get the shot off. Vinicius Jr scored the game’s only goal when he tapped home at the back post from Federico Valverde’s cross which evaded the Liverpool defence. 

Courtois was named man-of-the-match as he made nine saves to deny Jurgen Klopp’s side from claiming their seventh European Cup.

Alan Shearer praised the goalkeeper, saying: Thibaut Courtois has been fantastic. Not only in the number of saves he has made but he has dominated his box and giving his defenders the chance to relax.” 

Rio Ferdinand added: “Some of the saves he made, you just thought: ‘How on earth is he doing this?’ He was like a man possessed today and deserved the man of the match.”

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