Real Madrid number one Thibaut Courtois has rather frustratingly called the Ballon d’Or awards “impossible to win” for goalkeepers in the present era.
The Belgian was quoted as saying the above after finishing 7th amongst the 30 nominees for the prestigious award by France Football Magazine.
Notably, he’s also the recipient of the Yachine Trophy, the prize for the top goalkeeper for the season gone by, named after the legendary Russian Goalkeeper Lev Yashin who remains the last and only recipient of the Ballon d’Or award in 1963.
Speaking after the event, he said, “‘First of all, I am very happy for Karim Benzema. It seems like it’s better to score a goal than to save one. I consider it impossible to win the Ballon d’Or (for a goalkeeper). You win La Liga and the Champions League, your team wins thanks to your saves, and you only finish 7th”.
Courtois’ Los Blancos teammate Karim Benzema unsurprisingly clinched the award after scoring more than 40 goals on their way to winning the UEFA Champions League and La Liga.
However, it was undeniably the epic performance by the former Chelsea man that won the day for Real Madrid against Liverpool in Paris, with an astonishing 9 saves to his name on the night.
Recognizing this fact, fans on social media have sympathized with his viewpoints although many of them do concede that it is probably why they instituted the Yachine Trophy in the first place.
Goalkeeping isn’t the only position apparently being overlooked by the French magazine for their global award, with the last win for a defender coming way back in 2006 for world cup-winner Fabio Cannavaro.
Considering the list of awardees, Courtois’ comments certainly do carry some substance, although it can be argued that goals certainly do carry more value than an average save in deciding games.
Perhaps that is why there’s a trend toward most of the winners comprising forward or midfield players who affect games in the final third of the pitch.
Nonetheless, the Belgian was undoubtedly a deserved winner of the Yachine Trophy amongst its distinguished nominees such as Alisson, Ederson and Neuer, with 22 clean sheets to his name across all competitions last season.
Whether he deserved a higher finish than 7th in the overall Ballon d’Or rankings remains a subject to be debated by fans across the globe, with names like Mane, Salah, Lewandowski, De Bruyne and Mbappe finishing above him.
Courtois’ efforts would certainly have had to be eye-catching for him to be in contention amongst the aforementioned names, with players like Haaland, Son and Ronaldo below him in the rankings.
The annual award is known for the debates it sparks amongst football fans, with no shortage of talent to root for amongst the nominees.
However, individual accolades aren’t the only criteria for one to emerge victorious as team medals often decide the swing in whose camp it may possibly land.
In that regard, Courtois’ claims certainly hold water as he won the two biggest trophies available to him last season, but by the same token, it was his hand (quite literally) that ultimately forced the award to go to his prolific teammate.