Courtois set to start for Real Madrid in UCL final – sources

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is in line to start for Real Madrid in the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on June 1 at Wembley, sources have told ESPN.

Courtois has been sidelined for much of the season after suffering two serious knee injuries. He returned against Cádiz in LaLiga on May 4, before he sat out Madrid’s Champions League semifinal second leg against Bayern Munich.

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Since then, he has kept clean sheets against Granada and Alavés. He made 10 saves in his last game and received an applause from fans at the Bernabéu.

Sources have told ESPN the club believes that, if he is physically fit, there is no debate he will start in the Champions League final.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti believes Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world, despite the fact that he does not want to say it publicly. Even after the 5-0 win over Alavés, Ancelotti said in their last two remaining league matches each goalkeeper will get the chance to play.

However, sources told ESPN that Ancelotti was close to alienating the Belgium goalkeeper after leaving him on the bench against Munich.

Courtois suffered a ruptured ACL in his left knee in August.

Months later, as he neared a return to action, he injured the meniscus of his right knee. However, Courtois has always been determined to play this season and worked hard to bring forward his return.

Sources told ESPN that Ancelotti believes Courtois’ role as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper is not in question.

There is however an appreciation for Andriy Lunin, who stepped up during Courtois’ absence. Madrid are keen to extend the Ukraine goalkeeper’s contract until 2029, with a deal close to being done.