Thibaut Courtois has offered a stark warning to Liverpool on the eve of their Champions League decider, saying ‘when Real Madrid play finals, they win’.
The Belgian goalkeeper was speaking ahead of his second final in the competition, the first of which he lost with Atletico Madrid against Real in 2014.
Courtois returned to parent club Chelsea after that defeat, before signing with Madrid in 2018, where he has been ever since.
The 30-year-old had been watching on as Real dominated European football, winning the Champions League final four times in five years to take their record trophy haul to 13.
In fact, since Madrid captured their 10th title under Carlo Ancelotti in 2014, they’ve taken part in 15 finals in all competitions, winning 13 of them.
And since the European Cup was rebranded the Champions League in 1992, Los Blancos have reached seven finals, coming away victorious on each and every occasion.
Courtois knew all about the club’s history and said: “Liverpool already played a final against Madrid in 2018, it’s different.
“If you face Real Madrid, you know that when they play the finals they win them. Now I’m on the good side of history.
“Eight years ago I played my first Champions League final, I didn’t win it and I hope to do it tomorrow. It’s the same excitement for everyone: to win and add to the history of Real Madrid.”
Madrid’s belief has rarely been shown more strongly than astonishing knockout comebacks against Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
Ancelotti also alluded to Madrid’s incredible success in the competition, and that it’s in their DNA to keep winning.
The Italian said: “We deserved to reach the final for everything said before: the technical quality, the talent… The team has been committed.
“The history of this club has pushed us in times of difficulty. We deserved to reach the final, if we deserve to win it we will have to prove it tomorrow.”
A three-time winner of the competition, Ancelotti has been crucial in the club’s history, ending a 12-year drought in which they didn’t even come close to a final.
There were plenty of nerves as they dramatically broke that duck in Lisbon against Atleti, but after recent years, it’s now turned to confidence.
Asked about the events in the Portuguese capital, Ancelotti said: “Each match has its history and its strategy. I see the same motivation and a little less concern.
“It is a great success for all of us, we know the demand and the history of this club. Getting here has been very important for us, the season has been very, very good.
“We are very close to achieving the maximum. We will all try. The atmosphere is fine. This team handles the type of match very well.
“The veterans help the young people to make the environment calm, with great enthusiasm and with a lot of confidence.”
One of those veterans, Brazilian full-back Marcelo, was asked about pre-match nerves, and dismissed any thoughts as the club’s most decorated player.
Asked about when his excitement began, Marcelo said: “Since we got to the final. We know what it’s like to play in a final, to defend this club. And it is increasing.
“They are normal concerns. From the day we got to the final I was already euphoric.”
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