Thibaut Courtois was the player chosen by Real Madrid to speak to the press ahead of the team’s Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night. The Belgian goalkeeper has plenty of European and domestic success throughout the years while Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, but has not yet won the Champions League and he believes that Los Blancos have the quality do go all the way after last year’s disappointment.
Sergio Ramos is a player who has won the competition four times, but an injury during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Cadiz has put his presence on Wednesday in doubt. Courtois feels that Ramos is a key part of the side but believes that there is plenty of quality in reserve to supplement his possible absence. “We have to see what happens with Ramos tomorrow. He is the captain and he is always missed when he is not there. But there are other players of great quality,” he told the media.
Courtois was one of Madrid’s most important players last season en route to winning LaLiga Santander and has started the season in good form too. The Belgian, while pleased with the praise, couldn’t say what his upturn of form was down to. “Nothing has changed, [I am] the same as from day one. A change of club is never easy, but it is true that I want to continue here playing at this level. I feel very well.”
The Belgian hopes that the team can mount a serious challenge for the trophy this campaign after the disappointment of falling out at the last 16 stage to Manchester City in August. “The Champions League is very important for us, it is very special. It is very important to start winning,” he said. “I trust this squad and I think we can win the Champions League. A team like Madrid always start as favourites and we have the quality to win it. “I see the team enthusiastic. We want to win. We are Madrid and we are one of the favourites, not the only one.
“We are focused on all competitions. It is important to do very well in LaLiga and then to do well in the Champions League. Winning LaLiga is very nice and then winning the Champions is always a dream. We want to win both titles.” Courtois was asked about the team’s defensive structure, and the former Chelsea man believes that it is an evolving process. “It depends on who you play against. Cadiz and Valladolid defended very well, with a low block. It is not easy to break those lines and when you miss a pass they can catch you on the counter.
“These are things that we try to correct, but they have not scored many against us either, they are things that can happen. It’s fine to receive more shots. I see the team being just as solid, but the teams play well [against Madrid], change their formation, shoot from afar. “In football it is normal to concede chances but in the league we have kept a clean sheet three times. And we are improving and looking forward to the game.”