Courtois attributes criticism to being one of world's best goalkeepers

By Sports Desk November 14, 2019

Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois claimed his status as one of the world's best goalkeepers brought unwarranted criticism in the early part of the new campaign.

Courtois bore a large share of the blame for Madrid's disappointing results at the start of the season, at one stage conceding nine goals in the space of 14 shots on target.

His performances prompted debate over the club's decision to part with Keylor Navas – who moved to Paris Saint-Germain – but the Belgium international has since rediscovered some of his best form.

The former Chelsea man has kept eight successive clean sheets for club and country, restoring his reputation as one of the game's finest keepers.

"I don't read the press, I only pay attention to what the coach or my team-mates say to me," Courtois, who moved to Madrid in 2018, said from Belgium's national team camp ahead of Euro 2020 qualifying.

"If they haven't been a goalkeeper themselves, how can they know how it all works?

"I don't doubt my own ability. I am one of the best goalkeepers in the world and sometimes that's why they criticise me. I'm calm about it because I made some good saves against Celta [Vigo], Sevilla and Atletico [Madrid], and in other games.

"I'm playing at a good level, it's turning out to be a good start to the season and I have to continue this way."

Zinedine Zidane last month substituted Courtois at half-time of the Champions League draw with Club Brugge, leading Madrid to issue a denial of reports which claimed the 27-year-old was dealing with an anxiety problem.

Courtois skipped the following LaLiga match against Granada before returning in a 1-0 loss to Real Mallorca.

"Zidane told me that I'd continue as first-choice, and asked me to keep focused," Courtois said. "He's always had faith in me."

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    - Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing a Manchester United forward. The Independent reports PSG have made Rashford their top transfer target.

    - Staying in Paris and talk about Neymar's future continues. Mundo Deportivo says Neymar still wants a return to Barcelona, who are reportedly set to raise funds by selling numerous players. Sport says they are prepared to sell Samuel Umtiti amid interest from Lazio, Napoli, Roma and Torino.

    - Jan Vertonghen is coming out of contract at Tottenham and appears set to leave the club. The Telegraph reports the defender has emerged as a target for Manchester City.

    - Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma's contract expires in 2021. CalcioMercato reports renewing the shot-stopper's deal is becoming a priority for Milan, who are set to extend his contract until 2023.

    - Former Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, 34, is a free agent after leaving Qatari club Al-Duhail. According to CalcioMercato, Inter are yet to make a strong move for the Croatian amid reported interest.

    - As they look to raise funds, Manchester United are open to selling six players. The Telegraph reports Alexis Sanchez, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Jesse Lingard and Diogo Dalot are considered dispensable.

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