Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has explained his heroic penalty save from Lionel Messi, revealing that he knew the Paris Saint-Germain talisman would choose to go to his left.
Madrid suffered a 1-0 loss at Parc des Princes in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Tuesday night, with Kylian Mbappe scoring a stunning late winner for PSG.
The scoreline might have been far more one-sided were it not for Courtois, who made nine crucial saves, including one from a Messi spot-kick.
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What's been said?
The Madrid shot-stopper says he researched the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner's penalty technique before the contest just in case he was called upon to keep him out from 12 yards.
Courtois told RMC Sport: "I had studied him. He had missed once with Barcelona (against Courtois specifically, back in 2013) but it hit the bar and he had missed one with Paris going to the right side.
"I said to myself that he had more confidence on the left side. He had put it there against Bruges, also against Nice in the Coupe de France so I told myself that I had to dive to the left."
Messi's penalty woes
Messi's penalty miss against Madrid was his fifth in 23 attempts in the Champions League, while his other failures from the spot came during his 21-year stay at Barcelona.
Only Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has missed as many spot-kicks in the competition's history, and the Argentine has also surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most overall attempts.
Courtois won't be taking anything for granted when he comes up against Messi in the second leg at Santiago Bernabeu, though, as he knows that the 34-year-old has the talent to conjure up a piece of magic at any moment.
"He’s not scored a lot of goals against me but, up against these great players, Leo, Neymar and [Angel] Di Maria, you’ve always got to be careful," he added.