'It is impossible for a goalkeeper to win it… even more with Benzema!' – Courtois casts doubt on Ballon d'Or hopes

By Sports Desk May 29, 2022

Thibaut Courtois believes he has little chance of winning the Ballon d'Or despite his incredible Champions League final performance for Real Madrid, noting the presence of team-mate Karim Benzema makes such an honour even more unlikely.

Courtois was in imperious form as Madrid claimed their 14th European Cup/Champions League triumph in Paris, making nine saves as Carlo Ancelotti's team beat Liverpool 1-0.

Liverpool managed 24 shots throughout the contest, the most a team has recorded without scoring in a Champions League final since Opta records began (in 2003-04).

Courtois' tally of saves, meanwhile, is the highest on record in a single Champions League final, with his 59 across Madrid's dramatic European campaign also a single-season record (both since 2003-04).

However, after being named man-of-the-match, Courtois cast doubt on his chances of winning the biggest individual prize in world football.

The 30-year-old said goalkeepers have little chance of being named the best player in the world, particularly given the form of Benzema, who scored 44 goals and added 15 assists in all competitions as Madrid were crowned champions of both Spain and Europe.

"It is impossible for a goalkeeper to win it, even more so if he plays in a team with Benzema," he told reporters, as quoted by Tuttomercato.

"I can go far, but it is difficult to win this trophy. 

"For me, what matters is the fact that when I returned to the locker room, all my team-mates were screaming my name. This is worth more than personal recognition."

Lev Yashin is the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or, doing so in 1963, while Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer came third in 2014.

Courtois also topped the Champions League charts for save percentage (80.6, minimum five saves), and goals prevented according to expected goals on target data (4.7) this season, before capping his fine season in perfect fashion in Paris.

While Courtois was keen to emphasise the collective nature of Madrid's success, he believed his saves from Mane in the first half and Salah after the break were crucial.

"It is incredible for me to win the Champions League final like this. For me, it was not important to be a protagonist, it was important to win," he added

"I was ready, I made an important save at 0-0 and one at 1-0. The one on Salah with my hand was beautiful, but also the one with my foot.

"I'm here to help my teammates, to keep the clean sheet and win. I'm happy to have been MVP in the final."

Meanwhile, Courtois also wished Liverpool supporters well after kick-off was twice delayed amid reports of heavy-handed policing in Paris.

Writing on Twitter on Sunday, the former Chelsea man said: "I feel sorry for Liverpool fans and the way they were treated. I hope everyone got home safe!"

Related items

  • Ronaldo has no interest in Fenerbahce move - Jesus Ronaldo has no interest in Fenerbahce move - Jesus

    Jorge Jesus says Fenerbahce have no chance of signing Cristiano Ronaldo as the Manchester United forward wants to play in one of the 'big five' leagues.

    The Red Devils are reportedly open to offers for the Portugal captain, who only returned to Old Trafford from Juventus last September.

    Ronaldo was on the bench for United's 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening game of the Premier League season, before starting in the chastening 4-0 thrashing at Brentford last Saturday.

    The prolific forward's future has long since been the subject of speculation and Fenerbahce are among a host of clubs said to be keen to sign him before the transfer window closes on September 1.

    Fenerbahce head coach Jesus has ruled out any possibility that the prolific 37-year-old could be on his way to Turkey.

    He said: "Yes, I'm a friend of Ronaldo, But he doesn't want to come, he has other ideas.

    "I think he doesn't want to play in any league other than one of the big five."

    Asked if he thinks Ronaldo will stay at United, the Portuguese replied: "I know that he will not play for Fenerbahce."

  • 'Unimaginable heights' – UEFA reveals women's club football set for dramatic surge in value 'Unimaginable heights' – UEFA reveals women's club football set for dramatic surge in value

    Women's club football in Europe is at "a critical juncture" but can soar to stunning new heights over the next decade, a new report from UEFA has disclosed.

    Its commercial value can grow sixfold to €686million by 2033 and club sponsorship could swell to €295million by the same point, according to European football's governing body.

    The developing professional leagues across Europe remain at an early stage of growth, emphasised by the fact spending on international player transfers topped €2m for the first time last year.

    UEFA published its 'Business Case for Women’s Football' on Tuesday, with the women's game planning to capitalise on the success of international tournaments such as Euro 2022 by aiming to steer supporters and investors towards the clubs and leagues that in some cases are battling to survive.

    The report said stakeholders have "an extraordinary opportunity to develop and professionalise women's football in Europe over the next decade by investing now" to unlock "enormous potential".

    The report's findings would enable stakeholders "to make informed decisions and invest on the scale required", its authors said.

    UEFA explained that previous data in this area, looking at the prospect for future growth, meant there was an "inconsistent and incomplete" picture of what the years to come might hold. It said its research and data investigations this time were "unprecedented" in their scale.

    Former Germany striker Nadine Kessler, who is now UEFA's chief of women's football, hailed the game as being "on an incredibly exciting trajectory".

    Kessler added: "The potential of the women's game is limitless and we believe we are on course to take women's football to heights that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

    "As this report shows, now is the time to capitalise on the momentum we have created together, now is the time to get involved, now is the time to invest."

    The research showed that a current fan base of 144million could reach 328million in 10 years' time. Followers were described as being broadly "diverse, progressive and young", with close to one in three fans of the women's game found to be new to football.

    Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas pointed to the prospect of short-term losses for long-term gains.

    Aulas, an early advocate of the women's game, said: "In the early years, there will be losses to reach a certain level and become successful. Over time, the investment will create excellent value for the club through new partners and a differentiated fan base."

    That was reflected in the report stating the "majority" of leagues and teams are making a loss, relying on support from club owners or men's team budgets to remain sustainable.

    Some 87 per cent of integrated clubs said involvement with women's clubs had brought about a reputational boost.

    UEFA said its research showed 70 per cent of women's clubs and 50 per cent of leagues are aiming to be self-sustainable within the next decade.

  • Neville fears bottom-half Man Utd finish without Cristiano Ronaldo Neville fears bottom-half Man Utd finish without Cristiano Ronaldo

    Gary Neville has warned Manchester United over the ramifications of an exit for Cristiano Ronaldo, expressing his fears the club could finish in the bottom half of the table.

    United's start to life under Erik ten Hag has been woeful, losing back-to-back matches against Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford to sit at the foot of the Premier League.

    Pressure is already mounting on Ten Hag, who faces a stern test on Monday against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool, and the final weeks of the transfer window could be decisive.

    United have been linked with a host of players, but the biggest story continues to be the future of Ronaldo, who is widely reported to be pushing for an exit due to his desire to play Champions League football.

    Reports on Tuesday suggest United's stance has changed, with the club now said to be willing to listen to offers for the 37-year-old, but Neville is fearful of the impact his departure could have.

    "I think there's a massive decision they have to make on Cristiano Ronaldo and they're damned if they do, damned if they don't," he said on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.

    "A few weeks ago before the season started, these two results, [the] best thing to do was facilitate a move out the club for Cristiano because he's obviously not happy and the club aren't happy with him.

    "The problem they have now is if they lose him, there's nothing left in terms of the goalscoring part of the pitch and I genuinely think if they don't bring players in or if they bring in poor players in and he leaves, I genuinely think they can finish in the bottom half of the table.

    "That's a bottom half of the table team, that's a massive statement."

    Suitors for Ronaldo appear to be few and far between, with Italian giants Inter and Milan said to have rebuffed a potential move, while fans of Atletico Madrid have made their feelings against a transfer clear.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.