Thibaut Courtois finally completed his highly anticipated return to Madrid during the summer as he sealed a £35m switch from Chelsea to Champions League winners Real Madrid, and the Belgian has opened up on his first few weeks at the Bernabeu.
The goalkeeper made his first La Liga start for Julen Lopetegui’s side during the 4-1 win over Leganes last weekend, and Courtois has spoken of how well he is already settling in at his new club, as well as his budding relationships with his new teammates in the Spanish capital.
Courtois told the Belgian press via Marca: “Sometimes they make a joke about the Champions League final I lost to them with Atletico.
“They are a very competitive group and they want to keep winning. The first days at the club were a bit all over the place, from the medical to the official presentation.
“At that time you realise how big the club is. I’m especially happy to be able to see my children every day, even if my 16-month-old son is too small to understand it all.”
Despite the relative ease of his settling in period after returning to the Spanish capital, Courtois did not immediately become the first-choice goalkeeper, as Keylor Navas maintained his place in goal for Los Blancos in Madrid’s first three matches. The Belgian has suggested that this was a suitable procedure.
“I arrived late to pre-season, so it’s normal,” Courtois said.
“Plus, I had a pain in my knee after the second training session. So it made sense that I had to train well for a few weeks first.
“The coach has managed things excellently. I’m happy that I was allowed to play last weekend.”
Having been awarded the Golden Glove award for his performances with Belgium at the World Cup - as Roberto Martinez’s side reached the semi-finals of the tournament during the summer - Courtois now returns to his international commitments this weekend, and insists that his national team will not be slowing down after finishing third at the tournament in Russia.
“We take every match seriously, even ones against Scotland and Iceland,” Courtois insisted.
Courtois’ excellent performances at the World Cup have seen him nominated for FIFA’s best goalkeeper of the year award, and the Belgian has been keen to dismiss notions that his move to Real Madrid was behind his nomination.
“I don’t think that’s the case. We’ll see if I win it, I hope so.”