Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois fires warning to Barcelona ahead of El Clasico
Question 1: Heading into this game against Barcelona, do you feel like the team is coming into this game in the best moment of form possible?
Well, I think we have a good shape, good form, especially after winning in the UEFA Champions League. Also, then Mallorca is also a really good time, we won it really well, 0-3. They had one chance where they hit the post, but in general I think we had a very good game and we won. So I think we have the right form heading into this game. Also, Barcelona is in a really good shape, so yeah, I think it's a crucial game. Also, just before international break. We are ready to have a good game and hopefully continue winning.
Question 2: This Real Madrid team of this season, perhaps you've played in teams that have been a bit more flashy or spectacular, but have you played in a round routine that is as efficient and as sort of mentally stable and consistent week after week as this one?
Well, it depends. I think we have had games where it was hard to score, where we missed ten chances before we scored one. We have had games where everything went in, for example the game against Real Sociedad where we scored some bangers. We had a bit of everything this year. I think the good thing is, especially after the beginning where we conceded a bit too many goals, we had efficiency at the back end, especially with all the team defending well and that also helped us to win some games because a lot of games you won 1-0, like in Rio, you know that we had a hard game that we won. So, I think if you can be efficient on both ends of the field, like with, for example, against Paris, then you will win and you will have those points.
Question 3: This weekend is that week again. It's El Clasico. In recent fixtures, you’ve have had the upper hand. You've won the last five Clasicos. What are you expecting from the game this weekend?
It will be a different game. Obviously, they have strengthened the team with Aubameyang. they have some very good young talents where they're building on and it will be a hard game, but I think we can compare it a bit with the Super Cup game. I think it will be a bit of a similar style and we just have to try to win again, in front of our fans. It's an important game for the club, for the team, and it's also important for La Liga. We must show on Sunday that we don't want anyone near us and even though the gap is big, we don't want anyone near us and must win the game.
Question 4: In these games against teams like Barcelona, where you know each other inside out, where it's top-quality players, world class players all around the field, tactically I imagine it's difficult to surprise one another. Where are these games won and lost?
Yeah, details. I think the same as Championship League games. Small details, losing a ball, suddenly counterattack - goal, individual mistake - goal. That's how often it happens. For us to be good, we also must try to take the ball away from them because they love to have the ball, so if you can take that part away from them as much as you can, you have more chance to win. And, as they like to have the ball and take risks in possession, there's always a chance of a counterattack. We are strong on it. We showed that in the Super Cup, we showed it also against Paris that when we recovered the ball, we're really fast to create an action and score. So yeah, it will be those little details that we have to defend well because we know they're being good up front and then obviously try to score ourselves.
Question 5: Playing at the Bernabeu, when you play in big games such as the one against Paris, where you have that sort of special vibe, that special atmosphere, that special communion between the players and the fans, how special is that for a player on the pitch when you live those kinds of moments inside there?
I think it's amazing and it's a pity that still I think roughly 20,000 people cannot come to the game because of the work on the stadium. Once the stadium will be done, it will be even more incredible. But the atmosphere, that vibe, that emotion, it is so special that it's hard to describe as a player. It's really like why I became a footballer. Obviously, I wouldn't have dreamed to play those games because as a kid you don't imagine from Belgium to life I Bernabeu but yeah, that is just amazing. Those games are why you love football and that's special. So hopefully Sunday, we can repeat it and give those fans and ourselves, this amazing ball of joy again.