Courtois: If you want to play at Real Madrid, you have to accept pressure

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The Belgium No.1 has struggled to win favour at the Bernabeu but is not concerned about being a target for criticism at a unique club

Under-fire Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has said that he has no problem being a target for critics.

Signed from Chelsea in the summer of 2018, the Belgium international has struggled to find favour with supporters or pundits as the club’s No.1 shot-stopper and has seen the level of analysis on his performances increase following a slow start to the current season.

He was withdrawn at half-time during Madrid’s most recent outing, a 2-2 Champions League draw at home against Club Brugge, in which they were forced to rally from two goals down to salvage a point.

Courtois was not flawless in his performance, allowing a tame opening goal to roll past him, but it was revealed that he was suffering from gastroenteritis.

With on-loan Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola set to slot in between the sticks for the weekend’s game against Granada as the ex-Atletico Madrid man recovers from his illness, he has told Marca that he is not unhappy to be in the eye of the storm as the Bernabeu side come under scrutiny.

"If you want to be a Real Madrid goalkeeper, you have to accept this pressure," he said.

Madrid might sit top of La Liga on 15 points, but their performances this season have largely been disappointing. Zinedine Zidane’s side are the only undefeated team left in Spain’s top flight but have drawn three of their seven matches to date.

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In the Champions League, an arena in which they have historically raised their game, they have also made a slow start, picking up just a single point from their two matches, having suffered a 3-0 loss to PSG on the opening night of the competition.

During this time, they have conceded 11 goals in nine matches, piling the pressure on Courtois, whose history as a former Atleti player, coupled with the fact that he was a replacement for the popular Keylor Navas, has made him a ready target for criticism.

In his debut season in Spain, he kept 10 clean sheets in 35 outings overall and conceded 48 times.

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