Thibaut Courtois issued a stern warning to Liverpool on the eve of their Champions League tie, saying ‘when Real Madrid play the final, they win’.
The Belgian goalkeeper was speaking ahead of his second final of the competition, the first of which he lost with Atletico Madrid against Real in 2014.
Courtois returned to parent club Chelsea after that defeat, before signing with Madrid in 2018, where he has been ever since.
The 30-year-old had watched Real dominate European football, winning the Champions League final four times in five years to take his trophy record to 13.
In fact, since Madrid won their 10th title under Carlo Ancelotti in 2014, they have appeared in 15 finals in all competitions, winning 13 of them.
And since the European Cup was renamed the Champions League in 1992, Los Blancos have reached seven finals, claiming victory on each occasion.
Courtois knew all about the club’s history and said: “Liverpool already played a final against Madrid in 2018, it’s different.
“If you play Real Madrid you know that when they play the finals they win them. Now I’m on the right side of history.
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“Eight years ago I played my first Champions League final, I didn’t win it and I hope to do it tomorrow. It’s the same excitement for everyone: winning and adding to the history of Real Madrid.
Rarely has Madrid’s conviction shown more strongly than astonishing knockout comebacks against Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.
Ancelotti also hinted at Madrid’s incredible success in the competition and that it’s in their DNA to keep winning.
The Italian said: “We deserved to reach the final for everything that has been said before: the technical quality, the talent… The team is committed.
“The history of this club has pushed us through difficult times. We deserved to reach the final, if we deserve to win it, we will have to prove it tomorrow.
A three-time winner of the competition, Ancelotti played a crucial role in the club’s history, ending a 12-year drought in which they did not even come close to a final.
There were a lot of nerves as they dramatically broke that canard in Lisbon against Atleti, but after the past few years it’s now all about confidence.
Asked about the events in the Portuguese capital, Ancelotti said: “Each game has its story and its strategy. I see the same motivation and a little less concern.
“It’s a great success for all of us, we know the demand and the history of this club. Coming here was very important for us, the season was very, very good.
“We are very close to reaching the maximum. We will all try. The ambiance is good. This team handles the match type very well.
“The veterans help the young people to calm the environment, with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of confidence.”
One such veteran, Brazil full-back Marcelo, was asked about pre-match nerves and dismissed any idea as the club’s most decorated player.
Asked when his excitement started, Marcelo said: “Since we got to the final. We know what it’s like to play in a final, to defend this club. And it’s increasing.
“These are normal concerns. From the day we reached the final, I was already euphoric.
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