Thibaut Courtois

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La Liga roundup: Benzema’s last-minute heroics earns Real Madrid valuable point (video)

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A stunning draw from Real Madrid against Valencia highlight La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Valencia 1-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid didn’t get the victory that would have put them over nemesis Barcelona, but they did get a last-second, much-needed equalizer from Karim Benzema to stay on par with the Catalonians.

Heading into midweek’s El Clasico, Barcelona and Real Madrid remain tied with 35 points, although the former remains top-of-the-table with a better goal differential.

 

With the game winding down and Real Madrid’s chances of pulling off a stunning draw slimming, Zinedine Zidane order his men to push forward in his team’s final corner kick of the night.

With Thibaut Courtois inside the box ready to pounce on the lofting ball, the ball was place directly in front of the Belgian. He headed the ball into Jaume Doménech’s hands. With the ball lingering inside the box, Benzema wasted no time, rifling the ball into the back of the net.

In the 78th minute, Carlos Soler put the home side in front, scoring his first goal of the season. With the win, Valencia extend their unbeaten streak to five games.

Next for Real Madrid is the game of the season: El Clasico against Barcelona on Wednesday, while Valencia travel to Real Valladolid in league play.

Elsewhere

Getafe 2-0 Real Valladolid

Celta Vigo 2-2 RCD Mallorca

Espanyol 2-2 Real Betis

Sevilla 1-2 Villarreal

La Liga Roundup: Modric, Benzema guide Real Madrid past Real Sociedad (video)

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Real Madrid’s comeback victory over in-form Real Sociedad highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Real Madrid 3-1 Real Sociedad

With Barcelona edging Leganes, Real Madrid manages to remain level in points with the league’s leaders following a win of their own over visiting Real Sociedad.

Federico Valverde and Luka Modric scored in the second half for Los Blancos, extend their winning streak to two games. Throughout 13 games, only a goal separates Zinedine Zidane and company from arch rivals Barcelona, with both teams sitting at 28 points apiece.

Two minutes in, the game had a completely different feeling.

A faulty back pass from captian Sergio Ramos to Thibaut Courtois was intercepted by Brazilian forward William Jose, who made no mistake in taking advantage of the gift placed in front of him by

In the 28th minute, following some mesmerizingly quick faints inside the penalty box, Correa laid it off to Saul, who spun around the Belgian goalkeeper, and, subsequently, finished with poise in front of goal. The team that has surprised many this season was off to a fitting, yet dreamy start at the Bernabeu.

If there has been a player that has bailed Madrid out of undesired situations this season, it’s been Karim Benzema.

As La Liga’s top scorer that he is, the Frenchman’s high-yielding goal scoring capabilities gave the home side reasons to believe that not all wast lost. Crashing into the box, the 31-year-old chested Modric’s whipping cross into the goal’s lower corner, leveling the score and influencing the goals that were to come for Real Madrid in the second half.

A quick turnaround for Real Madrid as they host PSG in Champions League midweek, while Real Sociedad look to get back into the shape that has guided them into the top five when they host Alaves.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 1-2 Barcelona

Real Betis 2-1 Valencia

Granada 1-1 Atletico Madrid

Courtois suffers ankle sprain

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Thibaut Courtois could miss the rest of Real Madrid’s preseason after suffering an injury in training.

Real Madrid announced that Courtois suffered a grade two ankle sprain, though they did not specify a timetable for his return. According to the American Academy of Orthapedic Surgeons, a grade two ankle sprain involves a partial ligament tear in the ankle and could necessitate an air-cast or walking boot to immobilize the ankle. Considering the seriousness, it’s clear that Courtois will be out of training for at least a week or two as the ankle swelling goes down and can heal, before he can return to full training.

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Courtois was predictably left off Real Madrid’s traveling party to Munich where it will face Tottenham in the semifinals of the Audi Cup on Tuesday at the Allianz Arena.

Perhaps ironically, Zinedine Zidane, who was always looking to replace Costa Rica National Team idol Keylor Navas, will now have to start Navas in preseason matches and potentially the start of the La Liga season, should Courtois need more time to recover.

Courtois was forced to pick the ball out of the net seven times last Friday as Real Madrid was trounced by Atletico Madrid at MetLife Stadium, 7-3. Considering how Real Madrid hasn’t done a major defensive upgrade – just signing youngsters Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy – Courtois and Navas could have another tough season facing a lot of opponent shots.

Meanwhile further up the field, there’s more drama in the Real Madrid squad. According to Diario AS, James Rodriguez has been told that he won’t be sold this summer after vying for a permanent move away from Real Madrid.

Rodriguez has spent the last two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich but after the Bavarians didn’t exercise their purchase option on Rodriguez, he has returned to Real Madrid in a tough spot. Real Madrid may have allowed him to leave before the preseason trip to the U.S., but now with Marco Asensio set to miss the season with a torn ACL, Madrid want to keep Rodriguez around for depth.

Courtois wants ‘close friend’ Hazard at Real Madrid

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Thibaut Courtois isn’t shy about who he hopes Real Madrid brings in this summer.

The Belgian shot-stopper told French television channel RMC Sport that he hopes that his Belgian teammate Eden Hazard makes his way to the Bernabeu this offseason, saying that the two are tightly knit on and off the field.

“I don’t know his future, and I don’t know if the club wants to sign him, but he is one of my closest friends in football, so I want him to come here,” Courtois said.

The two spent six seasons together with Chelsea, with Hazard joining in 2011 from French club Lille while Courtois came over a year later from Belgian side Genk. They have both also played together numerous times for the Belgian national team, including a pair of World Cup journeys in 2014 and 2018. Hazard has exactly 100 caps for Belgium, while Courtois has 72.

There’s been plenty of speculation surrounding Hazard’s future at Chelsea of late. His contract at Stamford Bridge runs through the summer of 2020, making this summer the perfect time for him to make the switch. There’s been little talk of him signing a new contract at Chelsea, increasing the possibility of his departure.

Courtois’ future at Madrid is no sure thing, however. With the return of Zinedine Zidane, Courtois has been benched in favor of Keylor Navas. Courtois has been shaky at times this season as Madrid sits third in the La Liga table, making way yet again for Barcelona to run away with the league title. After joining just this past summer, his contract runs through 2024, but should Navas stay as the starter for the forseeable future, it’s possible Courtois becomes frustrated with his role.

Schone’s marvel puts nail in Real Madrid’s coffin (video)

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Lasse Schone, mic drop.

Ajax’s 32-year-old midfielder fooled Thibaut Courtois with a stunning, curling free kick to give Ajax it’s fourth away goal of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League second leg at Real Madrid.

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He was promptly subbed off the pitch.

The bearded Danish veteran spun the kick over the reach of Courtois, who had taken steps off his line in anticipation of a clipped cross.

It was Schone’s 270th appearance for the Dutch powers.