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C/league final: Courtois not scared of shootout

Thibaut Courtois ready for possible penalty

 

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.

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.

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‘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.’

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.

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