Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid start their season on Saturday (PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU)
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday the Spanish giants are not chasing a new goalkeeper in the transfer market to replace the injured Thibaut Courtois ahead of the new La Liga season.
Courtois is set to miss a major part of the season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during training on Thursday.
But Ancelotti said Ukrainian back-up ‘keeper Andriy Lunin was ready to fill the void left by Courtois, who won the Yashin trophy last year awarded to the world’s best goalkeeper.
“We have total confidence in Lunin who is a great goalkeeper,” Ancelotti told a press conference ahead of Real’s La Liga opener at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
“He’s been very good during pre-season. He’s talented and what he lacks is what all young players lack — experience, the experience he’s going to gain day by day.”
Ancelotti said the club may still look to bolster their goalkeeping options.
“We still have time until August 31,” he added. “We’ll see in the next few days if we’re going to recruit another goalkeeper, to make up the numbers, because we count on Lunin.”
This season will mark the start of a new era at Madrid following the departure of Karim Benzema for Saudi Arabia after 14 years at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The 14-time European champions have not signed an obvious replacement for their second-highest scorer of all-time, although they have brought in striker Joselu on loan from Espanyol and winger Brahim Diaz has returned to the club following his three-year loan spell at AC Milan.
“Up front, we’re very good. We have different options,” said Ancelotti.
“Two players have arrived and they bring positives. Joselu, thanks to his different characteristics. He is very good in the box… And Brahim can offer us more solutions between the lines.”
Madrid have made an imprint on the transfer window, though, signing England midfielder Jude Bellingham for 103 million euros ($113 million) from Borussia Dortmund.
Ancelotti will be hoping Bellingham can freshen up his midfield which was still largely reliant on veterans Luka Modric and Toni Kroos last season.
The Italian hinted that Bellingham could play in a more attacking role than previously seen for Dortmund and England.
“I think he has a greater impact on the opponents if he plays higher. He’s more dangerous if he plays like a centre-forward.”
Madrid are bidding to bounce back from a disappointing season last term when they finished a distant second in La Liga, 10 points behind Barcelona, and were beaten in the Champions League semi-finals by Manchester City.
Elsewhere this weekend, champions Barca kick off their title defence at Getafe on Sunday, before Atletico Madrid host Granada on Monday.