Courtois vs Navas
Thibaut Courtois was officially unveiled at the Bernabeu yesterday and spoke about competing with Keylor Navas for the number one-spot. "I arrived at Chelsea with [Petr] Cech there, and I ended up being first choice. I've come here to give my all and it's down to the coach to decide,” the Belgian said at the press conference. After kissing the badge four times during his unveiling, the 26-year-old also apologized again for leading anti-Madrid chants during a trophy celebration while playing with rivals Atlético a few years ago, and said he had now arrived at the club that he “always wanted to play for.”
Meanwhile, Keylor Navas seems eager to stay at the club to battle for his place, despite Courtois’ arrival. "Of course, and I say this with force, I have the same desire to leave than I have to die,” he said in on Spanish radio. Navas and Courtois took part in their first training session together this evening, ahead of the UEFA Super Cup game against Atlético next Wednesday. Will Courtois’ first game in the Real jersey be against his old club, or will Julen Lopetegui stick with Navas? The question remains to be answered.
Champions League award nominations: Real lead the way
Including Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid boast seven nominees in the Champions League 2017/18 positional awards. The seven who make the shortlist are: Keylor Navas (GK), Sergio Ramos (DEF), Raphael Varane (DEF), Marcelo (DEF), Toni Kross (MF), Luka Modric (MF), and Cristiano Ronaldo (GF). The judging panel for the awards is made up of the 32 coaches of the competing last season, and a group of 55 journalists.
🏅 We're leading the way in the shortlist for the 2017/18 Champions League positional awards! 👇— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) 9 August 2018
Odriozola and Vallejo injuries
Alvaro Odriozola continues his recovery from a knock picked up in training before the Roma game, which kept him out of that fixture, and yesterday returned to doing some light work in the gym. Julen Lopetegui will be hopeful that the Spaniard will be fit and available for Wednesday’s clash, but at the moment, he still remains a doubt.
Jesús Vallejo, meanwhile, is definitely out of the UEFA Super Cup final due to a thigh muscle injury that will keep him sidelined for at least four to six weeks. “After tests carried out on Jesus Vallejo by Real Madrid Sanitas Medical Services, he has been diagnosed with a grade 2 injury in the rectus femoris of his left leg. His recovery will continue to be assessed,” read the club’s official medical report released yesterday.
Atlético fans show their anger at Courtois’
Not surprisingly, Atlético fans have not taken kindly to the news of Courtois’ move to their arch rivals. After watching him kiss the Real badge at his unveiling yesterday, one fan decided to paint an offensive message on the player’s plaque outside the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, which commemorates the Belgian international’s time at the club. The vandal wrote in bright red paint “MHDP”, which almost certainly stands for “Madridista, hijo de puta” (Madridista, Son of a b**tch), an expletive often shouted during derby games.
Atletico Madrid fans vandalize Courtois’ plaque outside of their stadium: “Madridista, Son of a B*tch” pic.twitter.com/z3Gd1lQM6G— RMadridHome (@RMadridHome_) 9 August 2018
Meanwhile, an Atlético fan page on Twitter claims that supporters are planning to throw 50,000 Ikea toy rats at Courtois during the Madrid derby at the Wanda on 2 February next year. Quite a gesture, but perhaps not as bad as the dead pig’s head thrown at Luis Figo at the Camp Nou back in 2002.
Fans are preparing to rain down toy rats on Courtois when he next returns to the Metropolitano. https://t.co/4XqkIBEYK6— AtléticoFans (@AtleticoFans) 9 August 2018
Lopetegui on the Super Cup clash
Lopetegui gave an interview to UEFA.com ahead of Wednesday’s match, offering his thoughts on his first official game in charge of Los Blancos: “Yes, my first official game is a final. Atlético is a powerful and difficult rival, whom we know very well. They’re neighbours. It has all the conditions for a great game and a great final. And so, we’re preparing for it.”