The former Chelsea goalkeeper played a key role in Karim Benzema’s late equaliser at Mestalla after running from box to box
Thibaut Courtois made the decision himself to go up for the late corner that saw Real Madrid snatch a last-gasp draw with Valencia, according to head coach Zinedine Zidane.
Madrid were staring down the barrel of a second La Liga defeat of the season courtesy of Carlos Soler’s 78th-minute strike at Mestalla.
However, Belgium goalkeeper Courtois saw a late header saved by Jaume Domenech before Karim Benzema lashed home the rebound to ensure Madrid returned to the capital with a point.
“He decided to go up and this shows that we wanted more, that we never give up,” Zidane told a news conference.
“The equaliser is something that we put a lot of effort into. This is Real Madrid, a team that never gives up. They believed they could do it and they did.
“With everything we did, I think we deserved to score a goal that compensated with the effort of the team.
“Football is like this and you can’t complain. You have to accept what football gives you. A point is little reward.
“In the end, we got a big result, but it’s a shame because we had a very good first half. They were better going forward in the second half and it was even.”
Madrid were without Casemiro, who was rested against Valencia – likely due to the defensive midfielder being one yellow card away from suspension ahead of a midweek Clasico against Barcelona.
Zidane explained: “He wasn’t meant to play and those that did did very well. Casemiro had played lots of games and I’m very happy that we did everything without him.
“We drew, but I think we deserved a bit more. He’d played 21 matches and he had to rest, but I was only thinking about the Valencia game.”
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Madrid travel to Camp Nou on Wednesday, with a potentially season-defining Clasico followed by a difficult spell of fixtures.
They face Athletic Bilbao, Valencia and Sevilla in the following weeks, and were drawn against Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Ahead of the Clasico, Madrid and Barca are level on points in first, separated by just two goals.