It has been two years since Alphonse Areola last played in Spain, when he finished his loan spell at Real Madrid. In an exclusive interview with Diario AS, he spoke about his former teammate, Thibaut Courtois.
“Has he still not recovered?”, Areola says when he hears the latest update on the Belgian’s fitness just hours before El Clásico. The French goalkeeper, who was bought for €8m by West Ham United in the summer, only has words of praise for Courtois.
“I’m very happy for him, and you know, the best thing is that he won the Champions League,” says Areola, who is also looking ahead to the World Cup in Qatar with the French national team.
“Are we favourites? I’m not afraid to say so,” says the goalkeeper, who has also had spells with clubs such as Villarreal and PSG.
Now that you’re playing in the Premier League, do you think it’s the best league, or the one you like the most?
I think it’s the most intense in Europe, the Spanish league is also a good league but I think here [in England] there is more intensity and more contact. I like them all, but now I’m making the most of it here.
You’ve been in the Spanish league and shared a dressing room with Thibaut Courtois, who might miss El Clásico. What has impressed you most about him?
He’s a very good kid. I shared a dressing room with him for a year. I’ve worked a lot alongside him and I’ve made the most of it. He deserves everything that’s happening to him. He’s done a lot of good for the club [Real Madrid].