Thibaut Courtois injury: Progress & potential return date for Real Madrid goalkeeper

  • Belgian goalkeeper suffered anterior cruciate ligament injury in pre-season
  • Courtois has missed most of the 2023/24 campaign
  • Second knee injury could end hopes of a return this year
Thibaut Courtois' last competitive appearance for Real Madrid came in June
Thibaut Courtois' last competitive appearance for Real Madrid came in June / Omar Vega/GettyImages

Real Madrid were the recipients of some awful news at the dawn of their La Liga campaign when it emerged that star goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had been struck down by injury.

After seven months on the sidelines, Courtois looked to be heading back to action by the end of March 2024, only for a fresh knee injury to send him back to the sidelines.

Here's the latest news regarding Courtois' knee injury and when he may be back in action for Los Blancos.

What injury does Thibaut Courtois have?

Thibaut Courtois
Courtois has been out all season / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Courtois was struck down by an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his left knee back in August 2023 and, after quickly undergoing surgery, spent seven months on the sidelines before a return to team training in March 2024.

Unfortunately, Madrid have since confirmed that Courtois has torn the meniscus in his opposite knee, which will see the Belgian back on the sidelines for a little while longer.

When will Thibaut Courtois return from injury?

Thibaut Courtois, Mishel Gerzig
Thibaut Courtois (centre) has been stuck on the sidelines this season / Borja B. Hojas/GettyImages

It looked like Courtois would be back in action after the March international break. Manager Carlo Ancelotti spoke publicly about his excitement towards the goalkeeper's eventual return and, just hours before news of his latest injury broke, it was reported that he would be playing behind-closed-doors friendlies while the La Liga season was on hold.

That plan has now been thrown out of the window, with medical officials now deciding whether or not to send Courtois for a surgery which could easily end his hopes of a return before the end of the season.

Reports have suggested Courtois could face around six weeks on the sidelines if all goes well, which would set him up for a return to action in May.

What Real Madrid games has Thibaut Courtois missed due to injury?

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - La Liga
Thibaut Courtois has missed out on the fiery reunions with his former employers Atletico Madrid / Anadolu/GettyImages

Courtois' time at Madrid had been pockmarked by brief setbacks, missing 29 games across his first five seasons in the Spanish capital. However, this is comfortably the longest layoff of his career since tearing the meniscus of his right knee while at Chelsea in 2015.

Madrid and their keeper suffered the first blow on the eve of the 2023/24 season, ensuring that the entirety of the campaign has been conducted in Courtois' absence.

Ancelotti's side lead La Liga and are in a strong position in the Champions League knockout stages but there have certainly been moments when Courtois has been missed. The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper has been forced to watch four capital derbies this season.

Diego Simeone's side are the only team to defeat Real in any competition and have taken full advantage of Madrid's diminished defensive height without Courtois. Harking back to the days when they were known as Atletico Aviacion, all four of their league goals scored against Real have been headers this season. A towering 6'6 Courtois may have had something to say about that.

How have Real Madrid done without Thibaut Courtois and who has replaced him?

Andriy Lunin
Andriy Lunin has picked up Thibaut Courtois' slack this season / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

The Belgian's injury forced Madrid into the transfer market. Within a matter of days, Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga arrived on an emergency loan.

The much-maligned Basque keeper kept six clean sheets from 13 games in a solid if not spectacular return to Spain. Yet, Kepa soon joined Courtois in the treatment room with a more minor muscular issue, forcing Ancelotti to turn to the scarcely spotted Ukrainian shot-stopper Andriy Lunin.

The former Shakhtar Donetsk number one embraced his rare opportunity, performing well enough to spark an unusual sequence of goalkeeper rotation when Kepa returned to fitness. During a ten-game period at the turn of the year, Ancelotti split the workload right down the middle.

Kepa was victorious in all five of his appearances but Lunin (who lost once to Atletico) won Ancelotti's trust and has been an ever-present since February.