Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois insists he is ready to be a penalty TAKER if there is a shootout with Liverpool in the Champions league final, insisting ‘I don’t fear it – it is a moment to shine’
- Thibaut Courtois would step up if the Champions League final goes to penalties
- The Real Madrid goalkeeper had a mixed record of taking spot kicks at Chelsea
- Courtois has made 52 saves to Alisson’s 15 in the competition so far this season
- Belgium star Courtois hopes the Liverpool goalkeeper has a mistake-free final
- Follow Sportsmail’s live build-up and news from the Champions League decider
Thibaut Courtois is ready to take a penalty against Liverpool in the Champions League final, with the Real Madrid goalkeeper insisting he would not fear a shootout against the Reds, whether trying to save penalties or score one.
Courtois has been the busiest goalkeeper in the Champions League this season, repeatedly rescuing the LaLiga winners during an extraordinary run of late wins in knockout ties.
The Belgium international has made 52 saves along the way – 37 more than Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has been forced into during his side’s relatively straightforward path to the final.
Thibaut Courtois scored a penalty for Chelsea against PSG in the International Champions Cup
The goalkeeper fared less favourably against Arsenal in 2017, sending his shot into the stands
Courtois told the Guardian: ‘I wouldn’t be one of the first five (takers), for sure. But maybe after, if you need to shoot, you have to shoot.
‘I don’t fear it. It is a moment to shine. We won one against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup two years ago when I saved one penalty and this season I’ve stopped three penalties [in all competitions].
‘In pre-season with Chelsea against PSG [in 2015] I scored one and in the Community Shield [in 2017] against Arsenal I missed one.
‘[Then Chelsea boss Antonio] Conte put me there because he knew I could shoot it well but standing on the spot in an important moment is different.’
Real Madrid’s Courtois hopes he will not repeat his Community Shield agony against Liverpool
Conte called Courtois ‘one of our best players to take a penalty’ when the manager came under scrutiny after his No 1 blazed his effort over the crossbar against the Gunners.
The manager said at the time: ‘If your player shows you, in training, to be one of the best, you pick him to play and try and shoot a penalty.’
Courtois is proud of his crucial saves that have denied the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Jack Grealish this season and believes it will dent Liverpool’s confidence of beating him as they chase a treble.
He said: ‘It’s good for them to see that it’s not easy to score against me. That is what makes Madrid so special, why it’s so amazing, why history talks so much about Real Madrid.
Courtois has been in inspired form this season and helped Madrid knock out Manchester City
‘All these comebacks, those special moments at the Bernabeu. You can only live that at Real Madrid.
‘You just have to see the home games against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.
‘You can see the moment we score, the reaction of the other team; they know what can happen.
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‘It’s definitely harder [to be a goalkeeper] now. If you go back 15 or 20 years, it was really different to be a goalkeeper.
‘Now you have to be a playmaker from the back, you have to come out as a libero to a ball in behind and run out and take it.
‘They expect you to be calm on the ball and make decisive passes but you don’t have someone behind you that can save you.
‘All teams expect that from a goalkeeper and you know that sometimes there can be a mistake. I hope it is not coming for me or for Alisson. I don’t want to wish that on any goalkeeper.’