Opinion: David De Gea definitely needed the Real Madrid move more than Thibaut Courtois
Nobody really expected Manchester United to outclass the Italian giants, Juventus, at Old Trafford last night. An amazing second half display against Chelsea this last weekend must have surely boosted some of The Red Devils' fan expectations that they could replicate the same against Juve, and get some positives from the game.
It was an open game at Cristiano's old home, and the match ended 0-1 to Juventus, thanks to a Paulo Dybala tap in, and after that a failed effort came from Paul Pogba as the ball managed to hit the far post, then came off Szczesny's head, and out for a corner. If that went in, United fans would have been happy with the result.
Talking about Juventus' chances in the game, it would have been surely a 0-2 or 0-3 scoreline if not for the Manchester club's modern day goal-keeping legend - David De Gea. Those who witnessed the battle between the pacy Juve attack, and the United stopper, would only have to say that the latter was just making saves time and again to keep Manchester United in the game.
But for how long?
Week in and week out, we see Manchester United give great to average attacking displays, but consistently poor defensive displays. Since Sir Alex Ferguson's era finished back in 2013, Manchester United have been all about just trying to build a legacy from scratch.
The attack has been decent all these years, with absolute beasts like Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez, Angel Di Maria, and Memphis Depay having graced the Old Trafford pitch. The attack hasn't been the club's concern over the years. Its been the defense.
United's defense - De Gea's misery
"Chiellini and Bonucci could take classes at Harvard University about being a Central Defender" - These were United manager Jose Mourinho's post match comments.
Well, looking at the United defense line, the two Italian legends should be taking classes at Carrington.
It would be a disservice to Dybala, Cristiano, and Matuidi if we were to just declare that there were so many Juve attacks last night, just because United's defense was weak. But, this is Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the history of the game, and when it comes to the Champions League, the biggest clubs have to perform, even if they come up against even bigger teams like Juventus.
David De Gea was tested almost every other minute in the match, thanks to United defenders failing to contain the Juve attacking line-up, and this hasn't just been the case with Juventus, its been against mid-table Premier League sides as well.
Who's the one suffering (apart from Ed Woodward)? Definitely David De Gea.
David De Gea's patience and Real Madrid links
A few weeks ago, David De Gea was awarded a position in the FIFPro World XI at the FIFA Best Awards in London. What makes this award more commendable is that he has maintained this consistency in his game even if the front four in front of him at United change probably every season, and still fail to deliver.
De Gea was first linked with a move to Real Madrid around 2015. The veteran Iker Casillas was ageing, and they needed a replacement good enough to compete with Barcelona for Spanish dominance.
It's 2018 now, and finally the rumours stayed rumours, as Real Madrid have signed an equally good goal-keeper for their first team - Thibaut Courtois.
Courtois or De Gea - Who needed the move more?
It was about being close to the family for Thibaut Courtois at Real Madrid, but history has been witness that if we talk about career, Courtois has enjoyed his best time when at Chelsea.
Having won 2 Premier League titles, under two different managers, and dethroned Petr Cech from the Chelsea goal, Courtois had an outstanding Chelsea career.
If we compare this to De Gea's United days, its just been filled with the misery of an uncertain and poor back four, hardly any significant titles for many years, and changing managers every two to three years, with no significant rebuilding of the squad.
Well, this clearly explains why De Gea should have pushed for the Madrid move, last summer or last winter, if it was getting clear that Courtois would demand the same after the World Cup this year.
Things would have been so different then.
De Gea would finally get a team which is as big as Manchester United, possibly bigger, he would have a solid defense to boast about, he would be in his home country Spain, and he would finally be the deserved best keeper in the best team in the world.
Courtois would still be the number one at Chelsea, Kepa would spend a couple of years more at Bilbao trying to impress the top European clubs, and maybe Manchester United would have gone for a big goal-keeping signing.
It will continue to be a mystery as to why David De Gea didn't push for the move to Madrid, and what gave him the patience to stay at Manchester United, playing with a defense the club manager is so uncertain about.
De Gea's patience would only pay off if Manchester United were to return to winning ways again, but that seems like a lot of work and a lot of time, looking at their current form.
Courtois to Real Madrid was a move De Gea thoroughly needed more, and it was a move he deserved.Published 24 Oct 2018, 17:26 IST