'Not even on the podium!' – Courtois has Casillas backing after Ballon d'Or snub

By Sports Desk October 18, 2022

Thibaut Courtois suggested the Yashin Trophy had been "invented" to appease goalkeepers as he struggled to understand his seventh-placed Ballon d'Or finish – scepticism that was shared by Iker Casillas.

Keeper Courtois' Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema took the top award in Monday's Paris ceremony, named the best player in the world by France Football.

Benzema was a deserving winner, as Courtois himself acknowledged, having scored 44 goals in 46 games as Madrid won LaLiga and the Champions League in 2021-22. He netted two hat-tricks among a record-equalling 10 goals in the Champions League knockout stage.

But Courtois was also a part of those two triumphs and had an equally vital role in the European success, making nine saves in the final against Liverpool – a record since Opta data was first gathered in 2003-04 and worth 2.5 prevented goals, according to expected goals on target data.

The Belgium international beat Liverpool's Alisson to the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the world's best goalkeeper, yet he felt he should have fared better in the overall ranking.

"First of all, I want to say that I am very happy for Karim Benzema," Courtois told Cadena SER.

"It seems that it is better to score a goal than to stop one. It is a battle that remains to be won. Seeing the logic of the vote, I had no chance of finishing very high, nor of winning it of course.

"I'm not saying I had to win it! But you win La Liga, the Champions League, your team wins thanks to your saves... and you only finish seventh. You're not even on the podium.

"In the top 10, there wasn't even a defender. At least this year they invented the trophy for the best goalkeeper."

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Courtois shared a post from former Madrid keeper Casillas, which read: "I'm happy for Thibaut Courtois! By far he is the best goalkeeper in the world.

"What I'm not happy about is not having put him on the final podium for the Ballon d'Or. I still don't understand what those who choose this award are based on."

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