Will it be Courtois or Lunin ? It's Ancelotti's call

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti faces a challenging decision regarding the goalkeeper position for the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Will he choose Andriy Lunin, who has been the primary goalkeeper throughout the season, or opt for Thibaut Courtois, the seasoned player who has previously won the Champions League but is just returning from injury?

“It’s really difficult,” Ancelotti stated on Monday. “Both of them deserve to play this final. Lunin, because he had an excellent season, and Courtois, because he has recovered from his injury and everyone knows Courtois’ quality.”

Lunin was suffering from a fever and was the only Real Madrid player absent from training on Monday. However, Ancelotti mentioned that the Ukrainian is expected to be fit for the final in London.

The illness could hinder Lunin’s chances, and many had already anticipated Ancelotti would favour the more experienced Courtois despite his recent lack of game time.

“After an injury, you are not immediately at your best; you need to return and prove you’re as good as before, if not better,” Courtois remarked. “I’m happy to be playing and training well and to be available for selection.”

Courtois suffered a torn ligament in his left knee in August, merely two days before the season’s commencement. The 32-year-old Belgian further injured the meniscus in his right knee in March, just as he was nearing a return to action.

He remained out of play until early this month when he participated in a 3-0 triumph over Cadiz, securing Madrid’s 36th Spanish league championship.

Lunin resumed his position in goal when Madrid defeated Bayern Munich in the Champions League semifinals. He successfully saved two penalties during the decisive shootout against Manchester City in the quarterfinals.

Lunin claimed the starting spot over Kepa Arrizabalaga, formerly of Chelsea, who serves as Madrid’s other backup goalkeeper. Ancelotti declared Lunin to be the best goalkeeper in the world at present.

Courtois boasts significant experience in finals, having won the 2022 Champions League with Madrid, the FA Cup with Chelsea, the Europa League with Atletico Madrid, and two Copa del Rey titles (one with Madrid and one with Atletico), among other honours.

“Both have valid reasons to play,” Ancelotti remarked.

Ancelotti humorously mentioned he would delay naming the starting goalkeeper for as long as possible to avoid ending the debate prematurely.

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