Thibaut Courtois admits Erling Haaland could be the missing link in Manchester City ’s quest for Champions League glory.
The Real Madrid keeper was again outstanding in his team’s two-leg demolition of Liverpool and the holders are in the hat for Friday's draw in Nyon. And while Real will fear no-one, Courtois knows the addition of Haaland makes City an even more formidable opponent.
Courtois said: “He (Haaland) is a great player. He was maybe what City were missing in previous years. They had a really good team and if you know how Kevin De Bruyne crosses the ball, if you have a really good striker up front, there is always danger.
"I think the goals against Leipzig you have to take with a pinch of salt … but he was always in the right place and you have to be there or you don’t make those goals.”
And Courtois says Haaland’s move to City shows just why Premier League sides should do well in Europe. He explains: “I think Haaland is an example of where the Premier League maybe has the edge on other leagues. It’s the strength of the Premier League, what they’ve done in previous years to make everyone strong and give everyone one money.
“If they get relegated, they have parachute money and all these things make a difference to the strength of the league.”
Yet for all Premier League’s self-promotion, Real Madrid - European champions on 14 occasions - continue to see off English teams.
“The Premier League is a really exciting league, for sure. It’s big competitive league and the level is really high but I think we have demonstrated that we have a big team and that you cannot underestimate Spanish teams,” said Courtois. "This competition is special for us and I hope it will continue."
With no conditions for Friday's draw, the Premier League’s two contenders could face each other in the last eight. Having said that, the Belgian stopper wants to avoid playing City or Chelsea in the next round.
"I would like to change a bit," he said, "last year we already faced City and Chelsea, let’s see if we play other teams this year. Last year we made it clear what character we have in the team, with comebacks, we earn respect, we show that Real Madrid is always there."