Champions League: Real Madrid coach Ancelotti confirms who will start in goal against Dortmund

LONDON (AP) — Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will start the Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday.

Courtois was confirmed in the starting lineup for Saturday’s showdown at Wembley Stadium after Andriy Lunin was struck down by flu this week.

Ancelotti had said he had a difficult decision to make after Courtois missed most of the season through injury and Lunin helped Madrid to the Spanish title as the understudy. But Lunin was unable to travel with the rest of the squad to London because of illness and won’t join them until Saturday.

“Lunin has had the flu and that didn’t allow him to train or travel,” Ancelotti said. “He will travel tomorrow. He’s going to be on the bench, so of course Courtois will be in goal tomorrow.”

Courtois was outstanding in the final when Madrid last won the Champions League in 2022, but has missed much of the campaign after rupturing his left knee ligament in August. He then ruptured the meniscus in his right knee in March.

Ancelotti said on Monday that Lunin was running a fever and was unable to practice with his teammates. And the keeper confirmed his situation on Thursday.

“I am very sad to say that I won’t be able to prepare for the most important game of the season and the most important game of my life with my team,” Lunin wrote on Instagram. “Many thanks for the messages of support and encouragement!”

Lunin was the hero for Madrid when saving two penalties in the decisive shootout win over Manchester City in the quarterfinals. He was also in goal when Madrid beat Bayern Munich in the semifinals.

Ancelotti also dismissed speculation Rodrygo could leave Madrid during the offseason, with Kylian Mbappe widely expected to head to the Bernabeu Stadium.

“Rodrygo is going to give it his all (in the final). He is a very important piece for us, he has been and will be in the future. I have no doubt about that whatsoever,” he said.

Rodrygo went on social media this week to confirm his commitment to Madrid after excerpts from an interview sparked doubts about his future.


AP sports writer Joseph Wilson in Barcelona contributed.


James Robson is at


AP soccer:

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up