Real Madrid goakeeper Thibaut Courtois has hit back at claims he wasn’t good enough at Chelsea with a man-of-the-match performance in his side’s 1-0 win in the Champions League final over Liverpool. 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 pushed Mane’s effort onto the post.
In the second half to defend his side’s lead, Salah did extremely well to bring a chipped ball through down, push it past Ferland Mendy and then fire an effort on goal but Courtois was able to palm his strike away.
Speaking after the game, the Belgian stopper said: “We had one chance and we scored once.”
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.
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.”
Courtois was named man-of-the-match as he made nine saves to deny Jurgen Klopp’s side from claiming their seventh European Cup.
Kick-off to the game was delayed by 36 minutes as fans were unable to enter the Stade de France. Footage posted on social media also showed fans trying to storm into the ground, while security was slammed as ‘shambolic’ by Sky Sports pundit Kelly Cates. She said: “Absolutely shambolic at the Stade de France. No way in, no way of knowing which way to go. Stay safe if you’re heading in It has the potential to be very dangerous.”