Real Madrid played Girona yesterday for their second game of the season and while the first half was rough, they easily redeemed themselves in the second. The initial line up released included one of their newer signings in this last window, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. I don’t know about you, but I was excited to see him play. I was impressed with what I saw out of him during the World Cup and was thrilled when the news broke that he was ours. However, when the final line ups were released, Keylor Navas was starting in goal instead.
I do not understand Lopetegui’s line of thought here. Girona is not a team that will challenge Real Madrid for the La Liga title this season. Sure, Girona gave them grief last season and Real Madrid lost to them, but we were a different team then than we are now and we legitimately underestimated them that game. This season is a different story. In fact, according to Phil Schoen in his commentary yesterday, they are actually among those favored to be relegated come May. This felt like a good opportunity to get a taste of what Courtois in the context of Real Madrid looked like.
I get that playing time is earned based on a myriad of reasons including, but not limited to, how a player performs in practice. I can respect maintaining consistency in how you select your team regardless of who you are facing. I am a fan of Keylor Navas and he has clearly been working hard. (I think we are seeing a different Keylor than we saw last season.) But why not take the opportunity to give Courtois minutes? As established earlier, Girona is a relatively inconsequential game in the grand scheme of things. Being the second game of the year, this is not a game where a title or the season is on the line. There is little to no risk in putting a different keeper in, especially if he’s a keeper who just finished third in the world. Maybe we will get to see him play in the game against Leganes on the first. Regardless, I hope he gets some minutes soon and that we did not just spend a lot of money on a bench warmer.