Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has claimed that Real Madrid shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois deserved to win the Ballon d’Or last year.
The City boss made the claim after his side beat the Champions League holders 4-0 at the Etihad to book their place in the final, where they will face Serie A giants Inter Milan.
Despite the huge scoreline, Courtois was impressive between the sticks, denying Erling Haaland in the first half with two great saves. He was otherwise impressive throughout the game and was why Los Blancos did not lose by a wider margin.
After the game, City boss Guardiola claimed that he deserved to be named the best player in the world last year. The Belgian enjoyed a stellar 2021-22 campaign with Real Madrid. He won the La Liga title with Los Blancos and the UEFA Champions League.
Courtois kept 22 clean sheets in 52 games across competitions, including one in their Champions League final win over Liverpool. He was named Man-of-the-match in that game following his heroics to deny Jurgen Klopp’s side.
His exploits saw him win the Yashin Trophy, awarded to the best goalkeeper for the season. Meanwhile, the Ballon d’Or award went to his Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema, who scored 44 goals and provided 15 assists in 46 matches across competitions last term.
However, according to Guardiola, Courtois would have also been a deserving candidate to lift the award.
“If they had given the Ballon d’Or to Courtois last year, it would also have been deserved,” the Spanish tactician said (as quoted by @theMadridZone on Twitter).
Courtois remains arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. But he is unlikely to win the Yashin Trophy this season, given his side’s lack of success in the UCL and La Liga.