Thibaut Courtois says players are not ‘puppets’ and criticises La Liga for forcing Real Madrid to play

Real are one point off leaders Atletico Madrid, having played three games more

Richard Martin
Sunday 10 January 2021 16:49
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Snowy training session at Real Madrid City

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois joined coach Zinedine Zidane in criticising organisers La Liga for not postponing his side's game at Osasuna on Saturday due to a snowstorm.

The match finished 0-0, denting Real's title bid, after they were ordered by La Liga to travel to Pamplona the day before the game due to storm warnings, but had to wait for four hours on the icy runway before taking off.

"I have to thank the staff at Osasuna for what they did with the pitch but (making us play) was lamentable," Courtois told Spanish network Movistar.

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"They (La Liga) knew for a long time that this was going to happen but they made us take off on a frozen runway."

The conditions prevented Real from returning to Madrid after the game as usual and they spent the night in Pamplona. They play Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup in Malaga on Thursday.

"We arrived at the stadium with the roads full of snow. We have to prioritise people's safety," Courtois said.

"We do what we are asked. We knew that if we didn't come here we could lose the points but all you need to do is take a look and the roads.

"We also have families and we're not puppets who have to play all the time."

La Liga did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane, who usually avoid outbursts during news conferences, also vented his anger.

"The game shouldn't have been played. What we saw out there was not a football match," he said.

"It's very hard to play in conditions like that but in the end they made the decision to play. The whole squad is annoyed but I'm the coach and I'm the one who has to say so."

The snowstorm, which paralysed parts of Spain, led to Atletico Madrid's home match with Athletic Bilbao being called off on the day of the game while Elche's home game against Getafe was moved from Sunday to Monday.

Reuters

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