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Thibaut Courtois: “I survived a tsunami of criticism”

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The Belgian goalkeeper feels he is undervalued in Belgium when evaluated against his outfield peers like Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku

Real Valladolid v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois is never afraid to speak his mind. The goalkeeper gave an interview with HLN, a Belgian outlet, where he revealed that he feels his performance levels go undervalued in his country of origin.

“I had three fantastic years at Atletico, I received a lot of praise from Belgium. I became the Sportsmen's of the Year, an I thought I was doing well. Today, I have the feeling that everything I do on the field has become normalized. For example, my big save in the game against Valladolid, I felt like it didn’t exist afterwards. It seems like I have been playing at a high level with my club, the biggest club in the world, and it means nothing,” Courtois explained.

Thibaut went on to explain his frustration at not being named a nominee for the award, “Best Belgian in a Foreign Country”. “I can understand that Romelu Lukaku wins the award for Best Belgin in a Foreign Country. I would say he deserves it. That I was not even noimnated for the award, nor the Sportsman of the Year award, and other football players were, I find ridiculous. I think and feel more appreciated in Spain or even outside of Spain then in Belgium.”

The goalkeeper again went on to explain how his form for Real Madrid has gone unnoticed. “When you see where I was with Real Madrid to where I am today... I survived a tsunami of criticism there. In 2020, I won the Spanish Super Cup with a decisive save in the penalty shoot-outs. Then I read from some analysts that I don’t deserve any trophies, Lukaku does, because I did not attend to Beligum call-ups. I missed those games in the summer as I felt I needed a proper rest and preparation for the season,” Courtois concluded.

It’s clear the goalkeeper does not feel valued in his home country, but the story has changed in Spain. After a rough first season, the goalkeeper has become one of the most consistent players on the team. Courtois is now highly valued by his teammates, the staff, the fans, and the club.