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Courtois’ plaque dug out with a shovel


When asked by a journalist, president of Atlético Madrid Enrique Cerezo replied: “If the Courtois plaque bothers you, grab a shovel and remove it.” Someone took him at his word and, like a saint, removed the name of Thibaut Courtois from that sacred space, the Paseo de las Leyendas (’Walk of Legends’), created by Atlético to consecrate the best in its history. When it came to deciding who and why, an entry requirement of 100 games played with the team was set. An objective and therefore supposedly neutral criterion, but one that has proved to be imperfect. This attack on Courtois’ plaque bursts a boil that was already about to burst.

Far be it from me to justify the attack, with a pick and shovel, on Courtois’ plaque. But there are certainly moments that explain it. Atleti tried to sign him from Genk, getting him on loan from Chelsea. He was then released. Now that he is at Madrid as a global star, it would have cost him nothing to acknowledge the club that brought him into the spotlight with warm words. Instead he talked about now being on “the good side of history.” Whatever the truth of the phrase, it reflects ungratefulness. And let’s remember that Atleti didn’t win in Lisbon because he didn’t stop Sergio Ramos’ header.

Not long ago I spoke here about the problem Atleti have with their Paseo de las Leyendas, which many think is lacking some it should have, while having some it shouldn’t. After this attack on Thibaut Courtois’ plaque, that can be disputed no longer. The starting point, the ‘base 100′, is not a bad idea, in principle. But it is inevitable that some kind of consultation with the members is needed to determine who, despite having played 100 games, doesn’t deserve to be there and who, without reaching that figure, does, think San Roman, Marcel Domingo, Leivinha, Luis Suarez...


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