Sport/Voetbalmagazine went to London for a meeting with our national number one, Thibaut Courtois. As always, he takes no sheet before the mouth. Some of the extracts.
Thibaut Courtois on…
… the dominance of Manchester City:
“They are on a different level than the rest of the teams, they win everything. There were already many races in which points could lose, but then they win anyway with a goal in the last minutes. In four or five matches, it was really local policeman. They were still ten points less can count. But every time it went off well for them. They are of course very strong. Kevin De Bruyne was last season very well. Since then, they have some great transfers done. They lost it when often stupid points, while this year nothing. And Guardiola is now fully trained, they understand his ideas perfectly. He has the City made a machine. And a machine is difficult to stop.”
… the eighth-finals in the Champions League against Barcelona:
“I am champion of Belgium, Spain and twice from England, I have the Europa League, the European supercup and the League Cup won: there are many top players who dream to do that on their business card. There are still missing two things: the FA Cup and the Champions League. Against Alavés, I saw that Barcelona back a lot of space. In the interval they were behind and they have to double-folds to win. That means that everything is possible, especially if we could make use of that space. We have William, Pedro, Eden, a lot of fast players. If Barcelona holes, and our attackers are efficient… And if there is a grand Courtois in goal (laughs), then we can be a danger for them. Many observers say that Barça is the favourite, we will see…’
… his flirtation with Real Madrid:
‘My personal situation is linked to the city of Madrid, that is known. My two children live there with their mom. I see my daughter every day on Facetime. She says so often that they made me miss. My son is still too small to speak. Every time I have the chance, I try to go and fly back to Spain. That is not always an easy situation. So yes, my heart is in Madrid. That is logical and understandable. If they make me want to, they have to contact Chelsea. But that has never happened. We’ll see. What is certain is that one day I go back to Madrid. I love Spain, I love that city, I have three great years to be polite. It is there that I grown up am. Atlético had a bunch of friends. We went out together, my team mates have me a language learned that I did not know. When I left, I cried. My first days in London were not easy. England was in the middle of a colder and more businesslike. But now I feel very good there. I have my turn here.’
’80 percent of the interviews with the players consists of ready-made answers’
Read the full interview with Thibaut Courtois in our +zone, or in Sport/Voetbalmagazine of Wednesday 7 February.