PARIS (Reuters) - Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois feels he will finally get the respect he deserves after his man-of-the-match performance helped the LaLiga champions claim a record-extending 14th European Cup triumph on Saturday.
Real beat Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League final courtesy of a Vinicius Junior goal but the Belgian's saves made the difference at the Stade de France.
"I needed to win a final for my career, to put some respect on my name," Courtois said after making a staggering nine saves.
"I'm really happy and proud of the performance of the team. We've beaten the best clubs in the world. (Manchester) City and Liverpool were unbelievable this season. Liverpool played a great game but we had one chance and we scored it."
Courtois, Chelsea's keeper from 2011-18, said the first of his saves, when he denied Mo Salah early on, gave him the confidence he needed for the rest of the game.
"It's incredible, so many years, so much work. Come to the club of my life. I saw many criticising me. Today we have shown who is the King of Europe," he said.
"I felt good the last few weeks. Once you make the first stop. Nobody could take away my desire to win the Champions League."
There was only one downside for Courtois - he missed his brother's wedding but promised to make up for his absence.
"I feel sorry for my brother, who is getting married tomorrow and I can't be there," he said. "On Monday there is another civil marriage and I will be there."
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)