Real Madrid‘s home game against Atalanta on Tuesday is a big one for the club, but it has even greater importance for Thibaut Courtois.
The Belgian goalkeeper has been unable to get beyond the competition’s last-16 stage since beating AC Milan with Atletico Madrid in 2014. Then, he and Los Colchoneros went on to lose in the final in Lisbon against Real Madrid.
Since, Courtois‘ sides have always fallen short of the quarter-finals, be it with Chelsea or Real Madrid. Los Blancos risk not making the competition’s last eight for the third year in a row, but Courtois‘ run has been considerably longer.
At Chelsea, he lost twice to Paris Saint-Germain. In 2014/15 the Blues were minutes away from eliminating the French side; David Luiz scored in the 86th minute to force extra time, and Thiago Silva scored six minutes away from the 120th to overcome Eden Hazard’s penalty to send Chelsea out.
In 2015/16 Chelsea fell to PSG again, this time losing 4-2 on aggregate after two 2-1 defeats. They weren’t in the Champions League in 2016/17, and in 2017/18 they fell against Lionel Messi and Barcelona.
Then Courtois made his move to Real Madrid, although his arrival coincided with Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit and the end of Los Blancos‘ European dominance.
In 2018/19 they were knocked out by Ajax and then by Manchester City last season.
Now Courtois is hoping to end his European curse.