Thibaut Courtois produced a goalkeeping performance for the ages before giving his critics an almighty serve at the Stade de France.
The Belgium shot-stopper was man of the match in Real Madrid’s record-extending Champions League win over Liverpool with his nine saves the most in a final since 2004.
Courtois was so good that former Socceroos captain Craig Foster said he could become the first goalkeeper since Lev Yashin in 1963 to win the coveted Ballon D’Or.
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“I said to my friends yesterday that when Real Madrid play finals they win it. I am on the good side of history,” Courtois said on Stan Sport’s coverage.
“Today I needed to win a final for my career, for all the hard work to put respect on my name because I don’t think I have enough respect, especially in England.”
Courtois, 30, played for Chelsea between 2011-18 and won two Premier League titles.
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“I saw a lot of criticism even after a great season, that I was not good enough or whatever,” Courtois said.
“I am just really happy and proud of the performance of the team. We stuck to it and when I needed to be there, I was there for the team.”
The best of the nine saves denied Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in each half.
He dive sharply to his right to deflect Mane’s shot onto the post and away to safety while the Salah save left the Egypt striker in disbelief, hand on head.
“Today nobody was going to get in my way,” Courtois said.
“I was going to win a Champions League no matter what.”
Brazil winger Vinicius Junior scored the winning goal in the 59th minute, meeting Federico Valverde’s driving cross and applying a calm finish.
It completed an incredible run for the kings of Europe, who came from behind in all of their previous knockout ties against giants Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.
And it also completed a miserable week for Liverpool, who were also pipped by City for the Premier League title.
“I think we beat the best clubs in the world, City and Liverpool were unbelievable this season,” Courtois said.
“They fought to the end in the Premier League and Liverpool won two cups. Today they were really strong.
“I played a great game, that was the difference today because we had one important chance and we scored it.”
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Madrid’s victory also meant Carlo Ancelotti became the first manager to win the Champions League four times.
The Italian led AC Milan to European glory in 2003 and 2007 and also won the trophy in a previous stint with Madrid in 2014.
“I cannot believe it. I am the record man,” Ancelotti said.
Vinicius fires Madrid in front
On the flipside, Liverpool failed to score a single goal in three cup finals this season.
“In the dressing room, nobody feels it was a great season at the moment,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said, while also touching on the crowd chaos before kick-off.
“I know families had real struggles to get into the stadium. We will leave it for the investigation to figure out. Obviously it was pretty tricky out there.”
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