Monday, May 20News That Matters

Thibaut Courtois hits out at Ballon d’Or awards after finishing seventh

Thibaut Courtois has not hidden his frustration after the Real Madrid shot-stopper finished seventh in the 2022 Ballon d’Or.

His Real teammate Karim Benzema won the main prize at Monday’s award show, with former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane second and Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne third.

After the prize-giving, Courtois shared his delight for Benzema, who had been the clear favourite for the award after leading Madrid to the La Liga and Champions League titles, finishing as top scorer in both competitions.

But, the Belgian star was less-than impressed with his final ranking that saw his finish behind the top three as well as Robert Lewandowski, Mohamed Salah and Kylian Mbappe.

He also took issue with Real Mdrid finishing third in the Club of the Year prize behind Man City and Liverpool.

‘We all have a strange face with the City thing,’ Courtois said. ‘First of all, I am very happy for Karim Benzema. It seems that scoring a goal is better than stopping it. A battle that remains to be won.

‘Seeing the logic and knowing how they vote, I knew that I would have no chance of winning it.

‘I’m not saying I [should have] won it, but I’m not even on the podium being the goalkeeper who has won La Liga and the Champions League.’

Courtois can feel somewhat hard done by, given his outstanding performances during the 2021/22 campaign that culminated in winning the Man of the Match award in the Champions League final.

Goalkeepers, and defensive players in general, are often unfavored in Ballon d’Or voting, with Lev Yashin the only keeper to win the award having done so back in 1963.

The last goalkeeper to finish in the top three was Bayern’s Manuel Neuer in 2014, while AC Milan’s Mike Maignan was the only other keeper besides Courtois to make the 30-man shortlist in 2022.

Courtois added: ‘I see it as impossible, for a goalkeeper it is impossible to win this award. I don’t know if as a goalkeeper you can do more than what I did last year.’

The Belgian did at least claim the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the best keeper of the past season, ahead of Liverpool’s Alisson and Man City’s Ederson.

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