The 2020/21 Champions League is about to get under way and, ahead of Real Madrid’s opening match against Shakhtar Donetsk, Thibaut Courtois answered questions alongside Zinedine Zidane in the pre-match press conference.
The Belgian was asked about the Champions League and it was put to him that Real Madrid aren’t one of the favourites this season, which he disagreed with. “I don’t think it’s like this,” he replied. “I trust in this squad and I believe we can win the Champions League. I think a team like Real Madrid always starts as a favourite in this competition. There are other good teams and when I say we’re favourites I mean that we’re one of them. Like you’re saying, there’s also PSG, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Barcelona and many others. That’s the beauty of the Champions League. We then have to prove it on the pitch, but I trust in this team and I think we have the quality to win it. The Champions League is something very important for this club. Playing at home tomorrow, we have to start well with three points.”
Real Madrid may be without Sergio Ramos for this match and they’ve suffered without him in the Champions League in recent times. Of the last seven matches he hasn’t been around for in Europe, Real Madrid have lost six of them. On the leader, Courtois said: “He’s the captain and you’ll always miss him, but we have other world-class defenders who are ready to play. We have a deep squad and, even if we might miss the captain if he doesn’t play, we have trust in the other players.”
Courtois also discussed his current form, given how well he has started the season. He said: “I feel very good. It’s true that I’ve been playing well. I’ve not really changed anything, as I’m still working just as hard as the first day when I arrived. You need a bit of time to adapt when you arrive at a new club. Now, I’m just focussed on helping the team in difficult moments of the match. If we don’t score so many goals then the goalkeeper has to turn up at critical moments. In modern football teams attack more and maybe I have to deal with more shots than in the past, where I had games with just one shot to deal with. I’m just doing all I can to help the team, like all the other players. We’ve had three clean sheets so far in LaLiga so I think we’re doing well.”
Finally, he was asked by the Ukrainian media about Andriy Lunin and his development. On the youngster, Courtois said: “He is a great goalkeeper and has a bright future. He has been training very well and I’m sure that when he plays he’ll do well. He is good competition for me. We’re always pushing each other in training.”