Carlo Ancelotti backed Thibaut Courtois by insisting he would not swap the Belgian for anyone after the Real Madrid star was snubbed for The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper award.
World football’s governing body announced its list of nominees for the end-of-year awards on Monday, and Courtois was curiously absent.
Alisson, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Edouard Mendy, Manuel Neuer and Kasper Schmeichel were those confirmed to be in the running for the goalkeeper award.
Courtois, who won the award in 2018, does not believe he has been overlooked because of his performances, rather recent comments he made.
The 29-year-old criticised UEFA and FIFA in October, accusing the institutions of treating players like “robots” amid fixture congestion, claiming those in charge only “care about their pockets” and not those playing the sport.
Speaking on Tuesday ahead of Madrid’s Champions League clash with Sheriff, Courtois told reporters: “I’m not going to comment on why I’m not nominated for The Best.
“I think it’s because of something I commented on a month ago, but that’s it. Whoever gets it wins. The individual awards are not important.”
Nominees: #TheBest FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 22, 2021
Madrid certainly are not shy about publicly backing their own players for individual awards, with such campaigns frequently seen during Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at the club.
More recently, the club has backed Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d’or with social media posts.
But Ancelotti highlighted the greater importance for Courtois to win titles with Madrid, with the Italian adamant he would not change goalkeepers despite FIFA seemingly not rating him among the five best in 2021.
“There are many good goalkeepers in Europe,” Ancelotti said. “Others are going to choose [who wins the award], what are we going to do about it?
“We wouldn’t want to change him for anyone and I think he doesn’t want to change this club for any other. It’s a marriage that is fine.
“For him, it is more important to win LaLiga or the Champions League than an individual trophy.”