Saturday saw Thibaut Courtois’s first visit to Wanda Metropolitano as a Real Madrid player. The former Atletico Madrid custodian was jeered throughout the game and had toy rats thrown at him.
But the Belgian was unperturbed by this and revealed he was completely focused on the game.
“I was calm and had a cool head,” he later said of his approach to this game, according to Marca.
“I didn’t see the plaque, I’m not about that. I was preparing to play. I was here for three years and that can’t be erased. I have maximum respect for Atletico.
“People respect me and the Atletico fans I meet on the street wish me the best. What happened is that this is a derby, so it’s a different kind of match.”
The Belgian also spoke about where Los Blancos stand in the La Liga title race now and how they will put up a fight until the last match.
“You always have to believe,” he said.
“We had a bad month in October and January started poorly, but now we’re doing well. We feel really good and it’s important to win matches against direct rivals, like we did today.
“We need to fight until the final match, but this coming month is a decisive one.”
A win over city rivals Atletico Madrid means that Los Balncos jumped to second spot in La Liga, within five points of league leaders Barca, who have a game in hand.
“We fulfilled our objective to recover our position in the table and reduce the distance to the leaders and now we will wait to see how they do,” he told BeIN Sports.
“It was very a complete performance from us and I think that the result is fair. I thought our performance was very intelligent and now the league is still to be fought for.
“There are many points up for grabs and any team can cause problems, as was seen in the first half of the season.
“We have hope and are going to fight for three competitions. The league motivates us and we want to continue fighting for it and make life difficult for Barcelona.”
The defender scored Madrid’s penalty on Saturday to make it 2-1 and admitted that he likes to take the responsibility of the spot kick.
“I am happy to assume that responsibility as it was important to score it,” Ramos added. “I hope there are many more and I can continue this run of scoring them.”
A momentous day for Real Madrid and Gareth Bale saw a commanding 3-1 derby triumph earned at 10-man Atletico Madrid, with their Wales superstar moving into the hallowed 100-goal club in the process.
Bale, 29, came off the substitutes’ bench in the second half and soon got on the score sheet with a trademark low finish across Jan Oblak’s net. This laser-guided strike into the bottom corner moved him into three figures in 217th appearances.
Here’s a review of his consequential cameo at Wanda Metropolitano:
Minutes played: 33
Pass accuracy: 86.7%
Key passes: 0
Real’s recent rise under Santiago Solari continued at a hostile Wanda.
Casemiro’s stunning scissor kick was levelled up before the half-hour mark when Antoine Griezmann beat the offside trap and shot through hate figure Thibaut Courtois’ legs.
But Los Blancos responded in style to earn a sixth-successive La Liga win. Sergio Ramos converted a penalty prior to the break.
In the second half, Bale made a telling impact and Thomas Partey was dismissed for two bookings.
Memorable achievement: When Madrid paid Tottenham a world-record €100.8 million in September 2013, they expected a big return on their investment.
True, Bale has not represented the second-coming of Cristiano Ronaldo. But only 14 other players in this grand club’s 116-year history have reached 100 strikes.
When you consider 13 major honours, including four Champions League titles, then Bale can only be viewed as a success story.
Frustrated feelings: And still, a sense of ennui surrounds Bale at present.
This sharp conversion was just a sixth in 18 La Liga run-outs this term. He’s also been eased back from injury, starting just once in his last five matches.
A lack of conviction was present in both his celebration of a historic goal, and snatched header that followed.
With Madrid shining with Bale on the sidelines, his listlessness may continue.
74th min GOAL: So many of Bale’s 100 goals looked like this. Ex-Tottenham team-mate Luka Modric played a perfect pass into the channel for the onrushing Bale, who looks up and finds the bottom corner. Perfection.
88th min CHANCE: Lucas Vazquez sends Karim Benzema free down the right. The French striker then picks out Bale with a cross, but his poor header flies over.
These are strange times for Bale at Madrid.
This fine goal moved him into the upper echelon of representatives from Europe’s true heavyweight. The startling recent emergence of Vinicius Junior and Real’s stellar run without him in the starting XI, however, has put him on the verge of irrelevancy.
Bale must now build up his match fitness, hope he avoids another enervating calf injury and explode in the season’s defining fixtures to come.