Birthday Boys – Thibaut Courtois and Andres Iniesta


Today we celebrate the birthday’s of two great players, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and FC Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta.

Thibaut Courtois


The goalie turns 28 today as we have a look at his illustrious career up to current day.

The Belgian shot stopper started his professional career for KRC Genk as he climbed through the youth ranks and was offered his professional contract in July 2009 aged 17.

The youngster played no games for Genk in the 09/10 season, but was give his chance the season after, playing 44 times in all competitions for Genk in the 10/11 season. Courtois would keep 14 clean sheets in that time and was seen as a hot prospect by clubs all over Europe.

It was Chelsea who signed the Belgian goalie for £8 million, but loaned him to Atletico Madrid a day after signing him in July 2011.

The loan spell was beneficial for Courtois growth and the ability of game time. He played 52 games in the 11//12 season keeping 24 clean sheets, in the 12/13 season he played 46 games keeping 24 clean sheets again and in the 13/14 season the goalkeeper played 57 times keeping a whopping total of 28 clean sheets.

Courtois would return to Stamford Bridge and prove to be first-choice at the London club for the next three seasons, earning two league titles in the process under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.

In August 2018, Courtois would see his big money move to Real Madrid completed. The Belgian joined Los Blancos for £31 million.

The 18/19 season was shaky for Courtois as he seemed to lose confidence and wasn’t performing to standards that he had set in the Premier League for Chelsea and in La Liga for Atletico Madrid. 35 games in all competitions and ten clean sheets look good on paper, but the goals he conceded were easily prevented and the goalie lacked self-belief.

This season has been an improvement on last season from Courtois. 30 games in all competitions claming 14 clean sheets and only conceding 25 goals is impressive for the Belgian which has shown the improvement he has made to return back to the top of his game.

On the international stage, Courtois has been Belgium’s number one for a while now making his first appearance for the national team in 2011. 79 caps later and he is the number one and will be for years to come.

He’s won a fair bit of silverware in his career up to now. Belgian champions with Genk in the 2010/11 season. Europa League winner, UEFA Supercup winner, Spanish cup winner and Spanish champions with Ateltico Madrid. FA Cup winner, League Cup winner and two-time Premier League champions with Chelsea. FIFA Club World Cup winner and Spanish Supercup winner with Real Madrid completes Courtois trophy cabinet.

Andres Iniesta


Spanish and Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta turns 36 today. Let’s have trip down memory lane to see how the Spanish midfielder became one of the greatest midfielders of all time.

Iniesta joined the Barcelona Academy from Albacete Balompie in July 1996 for an unknown fee. Iniesta climbed through all of the youth ranks from U17 all the way to the senior team where he signed his professional contract for Barca in 2002.

That season the relatively new midfielder to the team played nine games and assisted on one ocassion, but was only just getting grips with the game as his confidence and ability grew.

The 2003/04 season would see Iniesta play in almost double the amount of games he played the previous season. Playing 17 times, scoring on two occasions and assisting four times showed the Spaniard’s sharp progress.

The next season saw Iniesta play in 46 games as he became a key midfielder in Barcelona’s team of the 04/05 season.

The 2005/06 season gave Iniesta a total of 49 more games under his belt, his highest total of appearances up to this point in his career. His assist and goal contributions remained modest but Iniesta started to use his range of passes to really impress the Camp You crowd.

The next two years saw Iniesta a regular in an ever-improving Barcelona team as the Spaniard recorded over 100 games over the two campaigns.

The 2008/09 season produced four goals and 17  assists in an all time best in his career at the time.

Always recording over 40 appeared per season throughout his career, new heights were reached by the midfielder in the 2012/13 season. He played close to 50 appearances that season scoring six goals and providing 22 assists in the whole season which was a great achievement for the player.

The Spaniard continued to notch up appearances in a Barca shirt, famously being part of the team managed by Pep Guardiola envied by all of Europe.

The 2017/18 season proved to be Iniesta’s last in the Barcelona shirt. Iniesta made 44 appearances in that season, but altogether made 674 appearances for Barcelona scoring 57 goals and assisting 140 times in the process. A true legend left the club that summer to go to Vissel Kobe on a free transfer.

He’s still currently at Vissel Kobe and he’s played 44 times for the Japanese club scoring ten times and assisting on 13 occasions.

His international career is extraordinary in a sense that he has played over 130 games for the Spanish national team and has pretty much won everything you can as a player.

Iniesta’s trophy cabinet must be pretty full with all the trophies he has won with Barca and with Spain. He’s won: Spanish Footballer of the Year, Spanish Player of the Year, Japanese Supercup winner, Japanese Cup winner, 3x UEFA Supercup winner, 7x Spanish Supercup winner, 3x FIFA Club World Cup winner, 9x Spanish Champion, 6x Spanish Cup winner, 2x European Champion, 4x Champions League winner, World Cup winner and UEFA Best Player in Europe.

Iniesta has had an amazing career and will go down in history as one of the best midfielders of all time.


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EFL/EPL and F1 writer. @AdrianKitaMedia on Twitter for any comments regarding my pieces on Prost International.

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