It has been a long dramatic Champions League season for Real Madrid. No club brought as much drama and excitement this season as the Spanish giants. Despite their feats in the Champions League, they have received almost no credit.
The Spanish giants won the most coveted and significant club trophy in Europe for a record-extending 14th time on Saturday by beating Liverpool, the fan favourites. A 1-0 win over the Anfield outfit saw Real Madrid cement their place in Champions League history as a club unmatched.
A side filled with an elegant balance of age, experienced and young players showed calm in defeating Liverpool.
Thibaut Courtois is one player who openly demanded that the lot who had denigrated the team show them respect. The Belgian posted a performance for the ages and asked the English press and its fans to show him respect.
Thibaut Courtois had a torrid time in England. He was denigrated at Chelsea and not rated as a top goalkeeper. The disrespect pushed him to leave the English club for Spain.
On Saturday, Courtois was in inspired form as he made nine saves in the final of the Champions League to hand Real Madrid the title.
The Belgian international made no pretensions of his feelings about the British press. He demanded respect from the English media, who were always quick to criticize his performances. He saw the criticism as unwarranted and disrespectful.
Following the victory over Liverpool, Thibaut Courtois asked the press to pay respect to his name. Courtois was in inspired form, with Real Madrid vulnerable defensively at times. He pulled off several saves to deny Mo Salah and company from scoring. Perhaps, the last time a goalkeeper affected a final like this was in 2002 when Real Madrid beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1.
There has been much debate over the stronger league between the Spanish La Liga and the English Premier League. Real Madrid have been flying the flag for La Liga creditably and were up against the most resilient sides in the Champions League this season.
The expectation, especially in England, was a Real Madrid capitulation. Los Blancos continued to weather the storm and beat all before it got to the final. The Spanish giants beat Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, Chelsea in the quarter-final and Manchester City in the semi-final. Despite this, the English press gave Real Madrid no chance to beat Liverpool, with Jamie Carragher boasting there was no way they could win in the final.
It explains why Courtois was offended by the analysis coming out of England. Speaking after the final, Courtois said he had proved the doubters wrong and that they should put respect to his name. Perhaps, the English press would respect both Courtois and Real Madrid.