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Courtois vs Oblak: Two great goalkeepers go head to head

9:12 AM GMT+8 31/01/2020
Thibaut Courtois-Jan Oblak
The Madrid derby is just around the corner, with Real Madrid hosting Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu

As always, the match promises to be a clash of many of the best players in LaLiga Santander, including a duel between two goalkeepers who have a claim to being the best in the world: Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois and Atlético de Madrid’s Jan Oblak.

Oblak: The four-time top LaLiga keeper winner

Fans only need to watch Oblak play to understand that the Slovenian shot-stopper is special; he passes the eye test in virtually every match. But the 27-year-old also has the statistics to back up his claim to the goalkeeping throne.

Oblak has statistically been the best goalkeeper in LaLiga Santander season on season for the past four years, repeatedly winning the award given to the goalkeeper to conceded the fewest average goals per game playing in at least 28 games.

While it’s true that he is helped by Atleti’s renowned defensive solidity, there’s no denying that Oblak has earned these four awards in a row. Looking back at 2018/19, when Diego Simeone’s defenders suffered injury after injury, the team’s defensive numbers remained the best in the league thanks mostly to Oblak who pulled off brilliant save after brilliant save, often reacting to seemingly unstoppable shots quicker than jaws could drop around the Wanda Metropolitano.

Oblak now has a fifth top goalkeeper of the season award in his sights. Winning would pull him level with Barcelona legends Antoni Ramallets and Victor Valdés, the only other players to have ever picked up the accolade five times.

Courtois: The shot-stopper enjoying a wonderful season

Courtois also knows what it’s like to win the top LaLiga keeper award. What’s more, he also did it in Atletico de Madrid colours – twice (2013 & 2014) while on loan in the capital between 2011 and 2014. 

The exciting thing for Real Madrid fans as the derby approaches is that Courtois seems to be getting better and better. His best performances of the season, both from a subjective and statistical point of view, have been in the past two or three months and he is bursting with confidence as he aims to break the unprecedented winning run of the man who replaced him in the Atlético de Madrid goal.

How do they compare in Madrid derbies?

They say that form goes out the window when a derby match comes along but both of these goalkeepers have a history of stepping up for the big occasion in the capital.

Both kept clean sheets in this month’s Spanish Super Cup final which pitted the city rivals against each other.

Both men will be targeting another derby clean sheet on February 1st, a clean sheet that could help them win the match and also go a long way towards deciding who picks up the top LaLiga goalkeeper award at the end of the season.