MADRID (AP) — Thibaut Courtois was Real Madrid’s top signing after Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus last year.Real Madrid felt its only real need at the time was to improve the goalkeeping position https://www.thetopsoccer.com/usa/paul-arriola-jersey , and it tried to do that by bringing in the man voted as the best at that position at the World Cup that year.With Courtois in goal, the lingering doubts about Madrid’s goalkeeping position would finally be put to rest.A year later, though, Madrid is again facing a goalkeeping crisis.Courtois was booed by the Santiago Bernabéu crowd in the team’s 2-2 draw against Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday, then was strangely replaced by coach Zinedine Zidane at halftime after conceding two goals from three shots against the Belgian club.Zidane gave few hints after the game about what was wrong with Courtois, saying he wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t continue. The club later said stomach problems kept the Belgium goalkeeper from returning to the game.Courtois was substituted by recently signed French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who has quickly become a fan favorite after some good performances in goal, including against Brugge, when he made a great save while facing a one-on-one situation in his first action of the game.Courtois had failed to do the same in a similar play in the first half Zack Steffen Jersey , leading to Brugge’s second goal. He also could have done better in the first, when he was caught out of position following a counterattack.“Courtois and Areola are Real Madrid goalkeepers,” Zidane said. “Everyone has their own opinion, I’m not going to get into that. I’m not worried. Courtois is trying to do his best and that’s what matters.”Zidane recognized things improved after the change in goal but went out of his way not to single out Courtois.“The second half was better and that’s what I take away with me,” Zidane said. “In the first half, we could point the finger at Courtois, but we are all in it together, and I am the first who has to take criticism. That’s how it is. I am the one responsible.”Keylor Navas used to be Madrid’s starter before Courtois arrived, helping the team win three straight Champions League titles. Still Cheap Soccer Jerseys , he was among the first to be criticized at the first sign of trouble, considered the weak link in the team led by Ronaldo. The Costa Rica goalkeeper was transferred to Paris Saint-Germain this offseason in the deal that involved Areola joining Real Madrid on a loan.Zidane has yet to announce whether it would be Areola or Courtois playing in goal on Saturday in the Spanish league match against Granada at the Bernabéu.MESSI’S APPEARANCELionel Messi made a rare appearance in front of the media after Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, blaming Barcelona’s poor start on the team’s busy preseason schedule.“It’s not a criticism, but it’s a reality,” Messi said. “When you travel, you can’t practice well. You don’t get a sequence of practice sessions. But we will keep improving, we will be getting better. It’s understandable that the club plays these games, all of the big teams do, they are needed.”Barcelona started the season with only two wins from its first six games in all competitions as Messi was sidelined with a calf injury. He later also hurt an abductor muscle Cheap AC Milan Soccer Shirts , and the match against Inter at the Camp Nou was the first in which he played the full 90 minutes this season.“I’m happy that it went well,” Messi said. “I lacked rhythm and I’m tired, but match after match I’ll keep improving. The more I play, the better I’ll feel.” Arsenal skipper Laurent Koscielny has etched his name in the club's history after scoring in his side's win in the London derby on Saturday. While it may have taken a while, the Frenchman became the first defender in the history of Arsenal to reach 20 goals in the English Premier League.Koscielny continued his streak of scoring in every season since switching to Arsenal in 2010 by bagging a header in the 39th minute. His goal came after Alexander Lacazette had registered Gunners' first goal of the day in a sensational manner.Despite an injury-plagued career, the 33-year-old center back has made over 330 appearances for Arsenal. Across all competitions, the ex-Lorient starlet has had a decent return of 25 goals.Addressing BT Sport after the proceeding, Laurent Koscielny was frantic about getting on the scoresheet and also commended his team for collectively working to beat Chelsea."I did my work in the gym," he teased in response to how he managed to get on the scoresheet after his spell on the sidelines."We know a free-kick or a corner is always important in modern football Cheap Arsenal Soccer Jerseys , the small details. I'm happy to score. "Today we needed to win. We did a mistake last week and it was a game of six points," Koscielny added."If we lose, it would be nine points; if we win just three points. We are still in the race for the top four. "It was important; the commitment was amazing from all the boys. We talked a lot and we showed on the pitch which way we want to go together."It is good to play like this. We want to fight for each other."When we talk about a clean sheet it is not just about the defenders. We showed everyone working together; the strikers work and help the rest of the team. Then at the back, it is easier to win the challenges."It is good for our head – we can keep this [mentality] for the rest of the season."This is what the coach asked us to do in the dressing room – [press] from in front. We worked, we fought all the game."We are now three points to Chelsea so we are still in the race and we will fight until the end."
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