Thibaut Courtois was interviewed on Realmadrid TV before the team's defence of the Spanish Super Cup gets underway with the semi-final against Athletic Club (Thursday, 9pm CET). The shot-stopper spoke about his fondest memories, which include winning the trophy in Yeda and his performance in the final against Atletico Madrid: “Winning the Super Cup last year was special and an important trophy. In the final there were several good saves, but the penalty shootout was vital. It was a decisive moment in the final and for me it was nice to help the team by saving a penalty”.
"I always dreamt of playing for Real Madrid. There have been many special moments, many saves. And I want more. In the last decade the role of the goalkeeper has gained more importance. I remember the save made by Casillas in 2010. If Robben had scored then, Spain wouldn't have won the World Cup. You have to value the goalkeeper's work because they are the ones who can save you when you don't expect it”.
“Those moments that we always train with Roberto are very fast on the legs. I'm two metres tall and fast because of my height, but if I can be even faster, that work will help me and it will pay off in the matches”.
His view on the opposition
"Every game we watch videos on the opposition to see their set-pieces, their penalties and their threats. We watch hours of videos, but the most important thing is to talk about it and see how I feel. In the end, if you put a picture on pause it is very easy to see the pass, but the perspective from the field is obviously different. The spaces are smaller than on TV, but it's always good to see those videos.
A goalkeeper's concentration
"Sometimes you won't get as many chances, but you have to be there at the right time. Making a good save at the last minute is the hardest part, even if you haven't done much for the rest of the game. It's 90 minutes concentration to make that stop that can be worth three points".
His 6 best saves.
Betis-Real Madrid 2020/21 (2-3)
"The difficulty of that save was that the header was a bit surprising, it went down and I was off balance. There I had to have quick reflexes with my hand to throw it up and not leave it short so as not to leave a bounce, because Fekir was there. That's pure reflex". Real Madrid-Barcelona 2019/20 (2-0)
"There is a moment when Arthur puts the ball away from his foot. I waited until the 6-yard line to give him time to get to the area. When he controls, I throw myself on top of him and his goal becomes small. If I had gone out earlier, maybe he would have chipped it over me or he could have put it in while I was running. That touch is where I reduce the space well and make myself big."
Real Madrid-Athletic 2020/21 (3-1)
"That's where you have to keep your concentration and make a good stop. He's one-on-one against me, shoots hard high and I move my arm very fast to make the stop. With Roberto we do fast movements in training and so at the moment he is going to shoot he is standing up. If the play ends up in our goal then it's even better. It's part of the job, helping and being there. That's why I think that Real Madrid signed me, to appear in those moments and save the team."
Barcelona-Real Madrid 2020/21 (1-3)
"That stop was difficult because at the moment when he goes to shoot I stay composed, because you don't have time to get up. I was also quick to react with my legs. He goes to dummy on his weaker foot, fakes it and then I think it's going to hit it to the post and I go to the right. That's another job we do with Roberto, to have strong legs to be able to change quickly.
Real Madrid-Villarreal 2019/20 (2-1)
"That had a bit of everything, it's a difficult ball for the goalkeeper. Coming out there is complicated because there are people in front of me. I have a good position for the first save, I get up quickly and I have my legs together to get it out with my foot. That stop is very symbolic of the last ten games. We played as a team, I also played and they were very good, with many decisive saves. It's very nice to win a League with Real Madrid, and more so. Those reactions are very nice to see, because they still expect a goal and you can make a stop that just saves your team. That's the beauty of being a goalkeeper."
2020 Super Cup final
"Winning the Super Cup last year was special, an important trophy. The Club World Cup, the first trophy we won was easier. This is a semi-final and a final that we played against Atletico, our rivals. It was a very hard final, with extra time, with many saves. In that match there were saves that were very good, but the moment of the penalty shootout is key. I remember that they had missed one and we had scored. The second one was very good, but we had studied it a lot. He likes that side and in the end I make a great save"
"Now there is the difficulty that we goalkeepers have with penalties, that we have to have one foot on the line at the moment of the shot. There I did very well, then we put another one in and we were winning 2-0. We put a lot of pressure on the opposition. It's a nice moment to be able to be decisive during a final and then stop a penalty in the shoot-out.