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Courtois and playing to the gallery

Thibaut Courtois was presented at the Bernabéu yesterday and he confessed he has been a madridista since he was a boy and that Casillas was the player he modelled himself on. It’s not too difficult to imagine how that went down with the Atlético half of the city... It reminded me of when Luis Figo, during Barça’s double-winning celebrations in Plaça Sant Juame, instigated a chant calling madridistas 'cry babys'. Such shows of euphoria during celebrations are nothing more than playing to the gallery and all of us have the right to forgive and forget them. But such  over-the-top, populist remarks show us that maybe it’s better to express our joy without offending so that it can’t be dragged up and thrown back in your face at a later date... And while we’re on the subject, I have always found those anti-Madrid rants during celebrations to be a bit excessive. It doesn’t tend to happen as much the other around when Madrid celebrate their victories.

Goalkeeping position covered

Anyway, Courtois is a great goalkeeper and I’m sure that what he said about Madrid and Casillas during yesterday’s presentation was said in all sincerity. And it was a tidy bit of business too - 35 million euros plus Kovacic on loan for a position in which Kepa went for 80 million – that’s 20 million more than what Madrid paid for Zidane back in the day… Courtois would have been out of contract next year, which is partly why Chelsea let him go for a price which isn’t in line with his true market value. He’s 26 – five years younger than Keylor Navas, who has two years left to run on his contract, which he is determined to see out. Courtois has signed a six-year deal.

Two great keepers fighting for one place

They are two great goalkeepers and it will be a bit strange seeing one of them on the bench. As for Keylor Navas, it’s evident that Florentino doesn’t really rate him – let’s not forget he had him waiting to board a plane bound for Manchester just before the whole De Gea saga collapsed (just thinking about that now gives me the shivers); a messy affair that was eventually remedied by the fax machine. Following that, Keylor kept his place in the team and continued doing his job, picking up three consecutive Champions League winners’ medals. So how can he now be suddenly dropped? Then again, can you see Courtois sat on the bench? Lopetegui will have to decide how to handle it but whatever happens, Madrid will are guaranteed that a great keeper will be between the posts – just like when Miguel Ángel and [Mariano] García Remón alternated in goal, or going further back, when [Juan] Alonso and [Rogelio] Domínguez shared goalkeeping duties for Madrid in the late 50s.