court jester | 

Thibaut Courtois barks back at his critics after Champions League final heroics

Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid celebrates following their sides victory in the UEFA Champions League final. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid celebrates following their sides victory in the UEFA Champions League final. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Kevin Palmer

REAL Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois snapped back at his critics as his sensational performance ended Liverpool's Champions League dream in Paris last night.

Vinicius Junior's 59th-minute winner crushed Liverpool's hope of ending their season with a third trophy, as Courtois declared he was on a mission against Jurgen Klopp's side as Real Madrid won 1-0 to claim a 14th European title.

"Today I needed to win a final for my career, for all the hard work to put respect on my name as I don't think I get enough respect, especially in England," said former Chelsea keeper Courtois.

"I saw a lot of criticism even after a great season. Maybe now I will get the respect.

"Yesterday in the press conference I said that when Madrid plays finals they win. I was on the good side of history.

"I am really proud of the team. We stuck to it and when I needed to be there I was there for the team.

"We beat some the best clubs in the world. City and Liverpool were unbelievable this season. They fought to the end in the Premier League, Liverpool won two cups and they were really strong.

"We played a great game today. We had one chance and scored it."

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard suggested Courtois' performance changed the course of Champions League history.

"Liverpool came up against a keeper who was incredible," said Liverpool's 2005 Champions League winning captain.

"They were the better side, but they couldn't find a way past Courtois.

"This manager and this team will come back. It is one of the worst experiences you can feel in football.

"I have no doubt that Liverpool will bounce back and go for everything against next season."

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was lost for words as he became the first manager to winch Champions League four time.

"I can't believe it," he declared. "We had a fantastic season. We did really well. It was a difficult game and we suffered a lot, more so in the first half. In the end I think we deserved to win this competition. We're really happy. What can I say? I can't say more.

"I am a record man. I had the luck to come here last year and have a fantastic season. A fantastic club, a really good squad with a lot of quality and mental character.

"I think we passed through really difficult games to get to this final. The supporters helped us a lot in the last game. They helped us tonight. We're happy and they're happy."


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