return on the incredible course of the Octopus

Thibaut Courtois and Real Madrid move this Wednesday evening on the lawn of Tiraspol in the Champions League, the most prestigious of European competitions. From the top of his 29 years, only, the goalkeeper of the Red Devils will celebrate his 500th professional match in club. Back in figures on a career far from over but already exceptional.

Say hello to the octopus

April 17, 2009. Courtois, barely 16, takes advantage of an avalanche of packages to make his professional debut with KRC Genk, his training club, during a Belgian championship match against Gantoise (2-2) . The young Thibaut will nevertheless have to take his trouble patiently before regaining a starting place. During the 2010-2011 season, his trainer Franky Vercauteuren propels him into the Limburg cages. A rather profitable choice. Forty matches later, a huge Courtois offered the title to his team against Standard by delivering a 5-star performance forever engraved in our memories.

For his first and only full season in Belgium, the teenager won the title of goalie of the year after having cashed only 32 goals in 40 league matches.

Three exceptional years at Atlético

In July 2011, Thibaut Courtois landed in Chelsea for the tidy sum of 9 million euros. However, it will not change with the Blues before 2014 since the latter loaned him for three consecutive years to Atlético de Madrid.

And the least we can say is that the Belgian will soon put Spain at his feet. In his first season, Courtois won the Europa League with the Mattresses before winning a year later the Zamora trophy, which rewards the best goalkeeper in La Liga. At the end of its second season, la Octopus dominates Europe with an average goal conceded per game of… 0.52. With 29 games without scoring a single goal, Courtois also achieves the best European record tied with the legend. Manuel Neuer. Not bad for a then 20-year-old keeper.

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For his last season with the Mattresses, the Belgian goalkeeper offered the Spanish championship and narrowly failed in the final of the Champions League against Real Madrid. Imperial, Courtois wins again the title of best goalkeeper after having conceded only 24 goals in 37 league matches.

Finally at the Blues

Thibaut Courtois finally joined his Chelsea club during the 2014-2015 season and was immediately crowned champion of England after having propelled the iconic Petr Cech on the sidelines.

If the following year was more complicated for the Belgian like his club, with in particular a knee injury which pushed him away from the field, Courtois came back stronger in 2016 and delivered an incredible season which allowed him to win a 2nd Premier League title as well as the best goalkeeper in England. His 16 matches without conceding a goal speak for him.

At the end of the 2017-2018 season, Thibaut Courtois is making his dream come true and is packing up for the Merengue Real Madrid after making 154 appearances for the Blues (152 goals conceded, 58 clean sheets).

From dream to nightmare … before deliverance

His first season at Real turns into a nightmare. Courtois had the worst season of his career with 36 goals conceded in 27 La Liga appearances and does not win any trophy.

If some observers dare to question the level of the goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois will sweep away all the criticisms from the following season and this despite a complicated start. In balance with Alphonse Areola after having made some approximations, the Octopus made his comeback and distinguished himself on several occasions against Atlético, his former club, and against Barça. At the end of the season, Courtois presents monstrous statistics : 34 matches, 20 small goals conceded, 18 clean sheets, the Zamora trophy (his 3rd) and above all 1 Spanish league title.

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If the following season, Courtois does not win any title, the Madrid goalkeeper proves once again that he is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe by keeping his goals clean 17 times in the league.

This year, with the departures of Sergio Ramos and of Raphael Varane, the defense of Real Madrid sought a little time with in particular three goals conceded on the lawn of Levante. But since then, Courtois and his teammates have a series of victories and the clean sheets should logically follow (only 3 this season).

Thibaut Courtois is therefore preparing to play his 500th professional club match before joining, in the near future, the club of the centenarians of the Red Devils (94 caps) in the company of Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, Toby Alderweireld and Dries Mertens. And this at barely 29 years old …

Performance by club

Clubs Number of matches played Goals conceded Clean sheets
Genk 45 49 14
Atlético de Madrid 154 125 76
Chelsea 154 152 58
Real Madrid 146 141 57

*Statistics obtained on the reference site Transfermarkt.

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