La Liga Goalkeeper of the Year

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Potentially like his team, there is a sole stand-out contender who comes out top of the rankings. Last season’s Zamora winner Thibaut Courtois has enjoyed another sensational season for Atletico Madrid as they go against the grain and challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid’s duopoly.

The Belgian stopper may be involved in some controversy for the Champions League semi-final clash with parent club Chelsea, but the lengths Alteti will go to in the hope of ensuring their star player features speaks for itself.

Courtois leads the Zamora rankings comfortably ahead of both Gorka Iraizoz and Diego Lopez, with just 20 goals conceded in 31 matches. A great deal must be attributed to the mainstays in defence who have played so consistently this season, but Courtois has kept Madrid from trouble on numerous occasions this year.

At home, Courtois and Atletico have been unbeatable, and this is mirrored in the statistics. Los Rojiblancos have conceded just 9 times at the Vicente Calderon in La Liga, and is a massive reason why they sit smugly at the top of the table.

His penchant for sublime diving saves are crucial to Atletico, whilst his ability to claim high balls is further proof that Courtois will be a great keeper for many years to come.

Whether he stays at Atletico next season, he has been a major reason why they have been so dominant this year, and could return to Stamford Bridge as a Champions League and La Liga champion.

The 21-year-old is widely touted as Europe’s top stopper, alongside the likes of Joe Hart, Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Belgium’s number one will link up with Chelsea in the summer, but his future is uncertain with Petr Cech having done no wrong and therefore meriting his number one jersey. Yet Courtois, fresh from his first World Cup, will presumably not stand for being number two to anyone.

Praise should also be awarded to Lopez at Real Madrid, who has managed to keep Iker Casillas on the bench despite a change of manager. Carlo Ancelotti prefers Lopez in La Liga and has witnessed his number one make crucial stops as Real keep plugging away behind Atletico.

Iraizoz has also been a rock for surprise package Athletic Bilbao, whilst Sergio Asenjo has impressed on Villarreal’s return to La Liga. Kiko Casilla has done well at Espanyol, but this season belongs to Atletico Madrid and their stars, and Courtois is certainly one of them.

By Tom Wellman

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