By Joshua Walters
Thierry Courtois, the father of Real Madrid goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, has reacted to the vilification his son has endured at the hands of the Spanish media since joining the club in the summer.
Courtois, 25, joined Real Madrid from Chelsea for a fee of £35m after emerging as the best goalkeeper at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but he has struggled to find his best form at the Spanish capital.
The Belgian goalkeeper has kept just 10 clean sheets in 32 appearances, consigning the club’s former number one, Keylor Navas, to a place on the bench for majority of the campaign.
Navas was Zinedine Zidane’s first choice between the sticks when the Frenchman led Real Madrid to three successive UEFA Champions League trophies, and his arrival at the club earlier this week to replace Santiago Solari has led to suggestions that the Costa Rican could regain his place in the starting eleven.
Courtois was in goal as Ajax Amsterdam defeated Madrid 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to qualify for the Champions League quarter finals last week, and he came under heavy criticism for his part in the visitor’s fourth goal.
Mr.Thierry however believes his son is being made a scapegoat for Real Madrid’s poor season which has made him concerned.
"I feel that everyone is targeting Thibaut. The Spanish press, and also the Flemish. As a father, I cannot ignore that," Thierry Courtois told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"A goalkeeper is always the first target, it is part of the job. For right or wrong, I let you judge that.
"But after the match against Ajax, he was targeted because of the fourth goal after he’d played well. This single mistake has taken on huge proportions.
"There are also personal things that come out in the press. I see the intentions of journalists to my son. I’m struggling with that, but luckily Thibaut is above that.
"He knows what to do and is aware of his qualities and he will not doubt himself."