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Courtois hopes to emulate ‘idol’ Casillas as Real Madrid’s new No.1

Thibaut Courtois, Iker Casillas, Real Madrid
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Courtois confirmed he’ll take the fabled No.1 Real Madrid jersey for this season and hopes to emulate the legendary Casillas in the process.

Thibaut Courtois impressed in the Real Madrid goal last season, tallying a league-best of 18 clean sheets to help the club win a record 34th LaLiga title. He also won the Zamora Trophy for his efforts.

He also became the first player since Jose Luis Perez-Paya in 1954 to taste league glory with both Real and Atletico Madrid,.

Now the Belgian has decided to take the next step in his Los Blancos career by taking Alphonse Areola’s vacant No.1 jersey for the 2020/21 campaign.

It will be the first time in Courtois’ club career that he has worn No. 1 on his back, having used the No.13 jersey with Genk, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, and, until recently, Real Madrid.

“When Real Madrid asked me to play with No.1, I truly felt honored,” Courtois wrote on his official website.

“Wearing the No.1 is the ultimate reward to celebrate a tough, but successful past season. It motivates me even more to turn that number into greater results.”

Many past greats have donned the fabled shirt in the past and enjoyed great success, including Courtois’ idol Iker Casillas.

“Playing as No.1 also has an important symbolic value,” continued the 28-year-old. “Without a doubt, it’s an iconic number for any goalkeeper to wear.

“Following the footsteps of true icons at Real Madrid like Iker Casillas, Ricardo Zamora, Bodo Illgner, and Francisco Buyo, I’m grateful to represent the best club in the world.”

Casillas is one of the most successful Real Madrid players of all-time, having climbed through the youth ranks to winning the biggest club competitions in Europe with the first-team.

The legendary Spaniard, who confirmed his retirement in early August, made 725 appearances for the club, winning 19 major honors.

Courtois added: “It’s no secret that Iker Casillas is my biggest example amongst those legendary goalkeepers.

“Even though he decided to end his career on the field, he’ll remain my all-time No.1.

“Like Iker, I hope to experience great moments with this No.1 on my back and make the whole Real Madrid family proud.”