It is often said that a great football team is built from back to front, and following this idea, the goalkeeper is the initial piece of a great team. In Real Madrid’s case, specifically in the 2021–22 season, where they won the UEFA Champions League in a way that was almost miraculous, the goalkeeper premise was fulfilled since Thibaut Courtois had what was (probably) the best season of his career. In fact, the Belgian has been essential for Los Blancos for almost all of his stint, perhaps except for his somewhat inconsistent first season.
After establishing himself at Real Madrid, Courtois was facing his sixth season with the club until, on the last play of training on Thursday, August 10, he felt a loud noise and pain in his knee during a jump exercise. The diagnosis indicated that he had torn the anterior ligament in his left knee, and this would have him out of pitches for the vast majority of the 2023–24 season.
BREAKING: Thibaut Courtois has broken his ACL. 🚨⚪️⚠️ #RealMadrid
“After the tests carried out on our player Thibaut Courtois, he’s been diagnosed with a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. The player will undergo surgery in the coming days”. pic.twitter.com/Eywu1KJ4fX
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 10, 2023
Real Madrid has shown in recent years that they know how to navigate the transfer market quickly and shrewdly and already have possible alternatives to the great Belgian goalkeeper.
He seems to be Real Madrid’s favorite because of his experience, consistency, and reflexes. He already showed in the last World Cup that he is a goalkeeper for the big stage and due to his age, it would not be a problem once the Belgian returns to the first team.
The problem with the Moroccan is that they have to negotiate with his club, Sevilla, and depending on the price they ask, the operation may or may not go ahead. The Andalusia club has Dmitrovic, an experienced and high-level goalkeeper who could take Bono’s place if he comes out.
David De Gea
The former Manchester United player is free because his contract with the Red Devils ended on June 30, so he would be a good alternative for Real Madrid, who should not pay a transfer fee for an experienced and top-level goalkeeper. However, it seems that the Spaniard may not be fully liked by manager Carlo Ancelotti and that could complicate his signing for Los Blancos.
The lanky Georgian is another alternative that Los Blancos are considering, and that fits with the philosophy of signing young talents that Real Madrid have used in recent seasons. At just 22 years old, he is already established at Valencia, which is currently a selling club and would possibly not oppose a sale of its goalkeeper. Thinking about the future, the return of Courtois could stop Mamardashvili’s progression, and that would not be something beneficial for the club or for the Georgian.
The 36-year-old Costa Rican already knows the club, for which he played for five seasons and won three UEFA Champions League trophies. He currently has a contract with Paris Saint Germain although he is not in the plans of the Parisian club, so his arrival would not be complicated. However, his level is not the same as before, and Madrid’s standards are high.
Other options are Unai Simón, whose departure from Athletic Club Bilbao can be somewhat complicated, and Kepa Arrizabalaga, whose situation at Chelsea is unpredictable, mainly due to the arrival of Robert Sánchez.