Yassine Bounou confirms he was Real Madrid's first choice to replace Thibaut Courtois

  • Yassine Bounou confirmed he was a summer target for Real Madrid
  • Morocco star later left Sevilla for Al Hilal in August
  • Bayern Munich were another club that were interested

Yassine Bounou ended up leaving Sevilla for Al Hilal in August
Yassine Bounou ended up leaving Sevilla for Al Hilal in August / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Yassine Bounou has claimed that he was Real Madrid's first choice to replace the injured Thibaut Courtois this season, only for concerns regarding unavailability in January and February during the Africa Cup of Nations to derail a potential transfer.

Bounou, or Bono as he is usually referred to, left Sevilla last month after four years to join Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia. Winning two Europa League trophies and helping Morocco reach the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup, he had become known as one of the better goalkeepers in world football.

As a result of his recent successes, the 32-year-old was among the nominees for the 2023 Yashin Trophy for best goalkeeper of the year and the main Ballon d’Or prize as well.

When the aforementioned Courtois suffered an ACL injury that could rule him out for the entire season, Bono was flagged up on Madrid’s radar.

"[I was] the first option [for Madrid]. That's what I understand," he said on radio station Canal Sur.



"Afterwards, the board analysed the situation, saw that I could go to the Africa Cup and miss a lot of games in an important month for Real Madrid and it wasn't possible. In addition, they had other options that could manage at the transfer level that suited them better.

"The African Cup has had a lot of influence on this market, both for me and for Youssef [En-Nesyri]."

90min reported at the time that Madrid were in talks to sign Bono but pulled out of any deal when the asking price was raised from €20m (£17.1m) to €30m (£25.7m) by Sevilla.

Among those other options for Madrid were David de Gea, following his release from Manchester United, and Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. It was the latter who got the job.

As for Bono, Bayern Munich were another club to make contact with Sevilla before he ultimately made the switch to the Saudi Pro League with Al Hilal.

"Bayern was in contact with Sevilla," he explained. "They asked me to wait and told me that they were going to send an offer. But in the meantime other names were being heard. I understood that there came a time when Bayern was only looking for a loan.

"The clubs, unfortunately, now don't want to spend, it's difficult. Right now, it is difficult to invest in people like me, 32 years old. It's not easy for Bayern and for any other team. At that moment, I was waiting and the offer from Al Hilal appeared."


On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Graeme Bailey to discuss Al Ittihad's attempts to sign Mohamed Salah, Jadon Sancho's Man Utd future, the players that could still leave the Premier League and more!

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