Zinedine Zidane opens door for Thibaut Courtois to return to Real Madrid side
The former Chelsea keeper was dropped on Zidane’s return to the Bernabeu hotseat.
Zinedine Zidane insists he has not made any “final decision” about his first-choice goalkeeper at Real Madrid, stressing that every player will be called upon to revive the club’s fortunes.
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas was recalled to the starting line-up for the first game of Zidane’s second spell in charge of Real, a 2-0 victory over Celta Vigo, at the expense of Thibaut Courtois.
Navas made a smart early save to deny Maxi Gomez the opening goal, with Isco then repaying the head coach for recalling him too by opening the scoring on the hour mark.
But Courtois is not permanently dropped nor is Isco now Zidane’s untouchable playmaker, with the returning boss telling Marca: “No one can take away what all these players have achieved in the past. I have a squad of 25 players and I am going to have to count on all of them, on Courtois, Keylor, Isco…
“Those who played today were very good but I am going to use everyone. There are of course those who are sometimes going to be left out, who are not going to play.”
Expanding on his choice to bench Belgian keeper Courtois, who arrived expensively from Chelsea last summer, Zidane added: “It’s not a final decision, there are 10 games left.
“Thibaut is going to play again and the third goalkeeper is Luca (Zidane). That’s three good goalkeepers but Madrid should have three or four great goalkeepers.
“You cannot contest four, five or six competitions with just one great goalkeeper.”
Gareth Bale shared an often difficult relationship with Zidane during the latter’s original tenure and, with question marks about the Wales star’s long-term future in Madrid still hanging over his head, he made the three points safe with a tidy second goal to kill off any late Celta challenge.
Real’s greatest concern, following their early Champions League exit, is that they are unlikely to close a nine-point gap and beat Barcelona to the LaLiga title, but Celta are struggling to survive in the top flight and dropped into the bottom three following defeat at the Bernabeu.
Head coach Fran Escriba told rccelta.es: “We did not let our heads drop. We made a few mistakes when we were in their half, sure, but the attitude was right.
“We had prepared well and were comfortable for a while, but after they made it 1-0 it was an uphill battle.”