Thibaut Courtois gave an interview to the Belgian national TV on Sunday.
The 19-year-old goalkeeper has earned a spot in Atlético’s starting XI and received a lot of praise after conceding just one goal in six appearances.
But against Barcelona the shotstopper had a horrible experience, as he and his team-mates received a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Messi & co.
When asked about conceding twice within just fifteen minutes, our number 13 admitted that he feared for a heavy defeat.
“After the first goal I wanted to keep the 1-0, but then Messi appeared in front of me,” said Courtois.
“I stopped his shot, but the ball deflected in the back of the net and then I realised it would become very difficult.”
Despite the result, Thibaut was happy with the experience and even went as far as saying “a dream had come true” for him.
“When playing Barça at home you know the chances of winning are very small,” he said.
“But still, you want to get a result. I had just hoped to save more balls.”
One player that left a big impression on the Belgian international was Lionel Messi, who was unstoppable and netted a hat-trick.
“After seeing how he moves from left to right with his accelaration, it’s logical everone says he’s the best player ever,” said Thibaut.
Courtois added: “He’s a friendly guy, down to earth and I have even more respect for him now.”
Barcelona might be world class on the pitch, but Manzano’s first choice ‘keeper was not impressed by the Camp Nou atmosphere.
“You expect a large stadium, with a lot of people, but there was not a good atmosphere, only when they scored,” he said.
“The only people I heard from time to time were a group of 50 people behind the goal, but it would have been more impressive had all 100,000 visitors sang all match long.”
At least that’s one thing Atleti have over the Catalan giants.
When comparing Belgian to Spanish football, Courtois explains how Atleti are playing a possession based game, just like Barcelona, waiting for an opening to strike through the defence.
“Barcelona just kept on passing the ball, waiting to slide it through the defence to create opportunities,” he said.
“We also try to do this, but just couldn’t keep a hold of the ball yesterday to play our game. We let them come too much, and whenever we got the ball, Messi and the likes hunted the ball on our side of the pitch until they got it again.”
Our goalie admits he struggled during his first days in Spain, but he is adapting well.
“I didn’t know the language and I was all by myself, so it was very difficult to adapt,” he said.
“But then I arrived at training and it was amazing to see the great group. I learned the language and now I can speak and understand it well. So eventually, it all went well pretty fast.”
The youngster smiles when asked about the possibility of ever playing for one of Atlético’s biggest rivals.
Courtois signed a five-year contract with Chelsea this summer and the Blues are keeping a close eye on their young star. One of the goalkeeping coaches was at the Camp Nou on Sunday to see Courtois play and spoke to the ‘keeper afterwards.
“They follow me closely, so that means they really believe in me,”said Courtois.
“When I will play at Chelsea, I will be at the top of Europe, so I won’t need to go to Barcelona or Real.”
“I think I prefer English football to Spanish football as well,” he added.
“English football would suit me even better, but they are both great leagues and I am glad I can play here.”
What is your impression of Courtois after his first weeks at Atlético, and how do you feel about his long term plans?