Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has admitted that his side miss the presence of former star Cristiano Ronaldo but insisted that Los Blancos do not dwell on his departure.
The La Liga giants have struggled for consistency this term following Ronaldo’s blockbuster move to Italian champions Juventus last summer, with Madrid currently 11 points adrift of league leaders Barcelona.
There’s an interview with Thibaut Courtois in @hlnsport:— Kristof Terreur 📰🎥 (@HLNinEngeland) February 2, 2019
“In March I had a meeting with Marina (Granovskaia) in which I told her that I would like to leave - living in London and the busy schedule made it impossible to see my kids, who lived in Madrid...” (1/3) pic.twitter.com/LeTX9QfBOt
A lack of a reliable goal scorer has been a key issue for the European champions, having failed to invest in a like-for-like replacement for Ronaldo but, via Goal, Courtois told Het Nieuwsblad: “He is not being talked about in the locker room.
“It is mainly the press that drops his name. There were matches that we lost in which we got 10 chances but did not score.
“At the same time he scores two for Juventus. Then it’s easy to talk about him.”
Ronaldo departed the Bernabeu during the same summer that Courtois arrived in the Spanish capital from Chelsea. Despite still having the likes of Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale in attack, Courtois admitted that his side were always likely to miss a player of Ronaldo’s calibre.
“If Ronaldo leaves and there is no real top attacker in his place, you know that it will be a difficult year,” Courtois added. “You take 50 goals away.
“You hope that Benzema or Bale will score more and partly they do that too. We are making progress in the last few weeks.
“We have won the Club World Cup, are still active in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
“Okay, in La Liga we are 10 points behind. But sometimes Barcelona also has difficult matches that they win in the last minute.
“Maybe it’s a bit of a transitional year. For me it does not matter much if the first year is less if the next ones are top.”
Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo this season:— bet365 (@bet365) February 2, 2019
Messi 29-17 Ronaldo
Messi 14-7 Ronaldo
Messi 89-44 Ronaldo
Messi 96-33 Ronaldo
Messi 13-7 Ronaldo
Lionel Messi was out for three weeks through injury. 🐐
Courtois pointed to comparisons between Madrid’s current situation and the transitional phase he previously experienced with former club Atletico Madrid before winning the La Liga title with Los Rojiblancos under Diego Simeone in 2013/14.
“At Atletico it did not go well for the first six months either,” Courtois recalled.
“Then Simeone came and we were away. Those first six months have already been forgotten by many people.”
Madrid have the chance to take advantage of Barcelona’s slip-up in their 2-2 draw against Valencia on Saturday, as Santiago Solari’s side host Alaves on Sunday with the chance to cut the gap to the league leaders with their game in hand.