Former goalkeeper of Dynamo and coach of the youth national teams of Ukraine Volodymyr Tsytkin shared his opinion on Andriy Lunin's prospects at Real Madrid.
— Lunin lost his place at the base of Real Madrid even for cup matches. What do you think, what is the reason for this: is our goalkeeper not up to the level of the Madrid club, or is Courtois simply out of reach?
- I think that Courtois is a very good goalkeeper, but far from the best in the world. However, for Real Madrid, he is the main goalkeeper. It is hard to say what is happening in the team and why Lunin plays little. Goalkeeper is a very specific position. The second goalkeeper cannot be released as a substitute as a field player. He is released only in two cases - if the team wins or loses big, or if the main goalkeeper is injured, as with Mallorca.
It rarely happens that a team has two equal goalkeepers, although I am skeptical about this and believe that there are no two equal goalkeepers. There were, of course, exceptions, such as in Dynamo, when Mikhailov and Chanov played. But that rarely happens. Often there is a main goalkeeper and his substitute.
For Real Madrid, almost every game is very important. In Spain, everyone plays against Madrid, as against Dynamo and Shakhtar in Ukraine. Therefore, Ancelotti has very little room for maneuver. The Real Madrid coach will not risk the result in order to give match practice to the second goalkeeper.
As for the fact that Lunin initially played in cup matches, but now he doesn’t, we simply don’t know all the nuances. It happens that the main goalkeeper needs game practice and the coach does not dare to change him even in a game against a weak opponent. Maybe there are other moments, for example, the interaction of the goalkeeper with the defense.
— Let's analyze Lunin's playing qualities. What are his strengths?
- I can't say that Lunin is an outstanding goalkeeper, but he is of a rather high class. This is evidenced by his presence in Real Madrid. To his strengths, I will attribute psychological stability and self-confidence, which is quite rare for a young goalkeeper.
He also has good technique, he works well with his feet. Lunin had a good school, because in Dnipro he worked with Vyacheslav Kernozenko, whom I consider one of the best Ukrainian goalkeeping coaches. In addition, Lunin catches the ball well.
— Now name the weaknesses of Lunin.
- First of all, this is a game on the exits. He very often presses against the gate. If he does not bring up this quality, then it will be difficult for him to play consistently in a good team. I will also note tactical moments. Lunin does not always calculate correctly when to leave the gate and when to stay. This is due to the fact that he does not have match practice, so Lunin has problems with the feeling of the game.
— Does Lunin have any advantage over Courtois?
- Perhaps Lunin has more potential. I also think that Andrey looks better in goalkeeping technique. He receives the ball better and hits it more correctly.
— What shortcomings can you name in Courtois?
- He has problems with technique, coordination, receiving the ball, but at the moment he is stronger than Lunin. However, I am sure that if Lunin plays, then over time he will look better than Courtois. Lack of match practice is the biggest problem for a goalkeeper.
— What would you advise Lunin in this situation?
- I think that the ideal option for him would be to stay on a contract at Real Madrid, but go on loan to any team. It doesn't matter if it's Segunda, France, England, Belgium or the Netherlands. The main thing is that he plays. And it turns out that he is sitting in a golden cage, and at his age you need to get practice.
In Real Madrid, any of his competitors will be the goalkeeper of the highest class, and it is not a fact that Lunin will have the opportunity to prove himself. I don't think that a team like Real Madrid will depend on one young goalkeeper. Tomorrow there will be no Courtois, there will be a conditional Donnarumma, Neuer, Navas. Lunin in Real Madrid will always have top-level competitors.
— Courtois is 30 years old, which is considered the heyday of a goalkeeper. Does Lunin have even the slightest prospect of ousting the Belgian from the squad in the future?
- To do this, he needs to keep in touch with Real Madrid, go on loan and play. It is better to play in Spain so that he is in sight. Remember how confidence in Lunin increased when he returned from Osasuna. After he received playing practice, they began to trust him at Real Madrid.
I think in the future Lunin can knock Courtois out of the base, because Courtois is not an ideal goalkeeper from my point of view.
— You said that Courtois is not an ideal goalkeeper. Name then the top goalkeepers in the world today, in your opinion.
— I really like Jan Oblak. I believe that today he is the best goalkeeper in the world. He has practically no weaknesses. For example, Brazilian goalkeepers Alison and Ederson play better with their feet than Oblaka, but they have poor goalkeeping technique and game on exits. The same goes for Lloris. I will put Donnarumma in second place, Mendy in third, and then all the others will go: Courtois, Neuer and others.
I believe that in modern football, the goalkeeper must be technical, take the ball well, return it correctly, play confidently on exits, put the ball into play well with his feet and hands. And kicking should be at the end of this list. Starting an attack through the goalkeeper is just a fad that will pass with time. The goalkeeper has to mind his own business.
— Now name the top 3 best Ukrainian goalkeepers. Where will Lunin be?
- I can't call Lunin the best goalkeeper in Ukraine, because he doesn't play. To recognize him, you need him to play at least half a season-season. As for the top 3 best goalkeepers in Ukraine... I will now make a tough statement: I believe that there are no good goalkeepers in Ukraine at the moment.
The only exception is Riznyk. He is a very talented guy. Lunin was lucky that Kernozenko worked with him, and Riznyk was very lucky that Dolgansky and Ostapenko worked with him. These are two coaches who made him a goalkeeper.
Riznyk is a very serious figure in the Ukrainian goalkeeper shop, so I don’t understand why he had little practice in the national team. I believe that he is stronger than Bushchan and Trubin.
- Bushchan and Trubin have a lot of shortcomings. With their anthropometry, they play very poorly on exits. But this is the misfortune of all Ukrainian goalkeepers. They also have a lot of technical defects, there are problems with tactics. Bushchan and Trubin still need to work hard to reach a good level.
— If you could choose one goalkeeper for your team, who would you take: Lunin or Riznyk?
- Most likely - Riznyka. After three years at Real Madrid, Lunin is unlikely to agree to move to FC Khust (laughs). And to be honest, I like Riznyk more for its style of play. He works well on exits, and in this component he is better than Lunin.
— And if you choose between Lunin and Courtois?
- Here I will choose Lunin. I think that it is more promising.
— Finishing the topic with Riznyk, can he grow into a top player and play in the European grand?
- I don't doubt it. But there is one problem - he needs to leave on time. I think he is already sitting out at Vorskla and the Premier League. He is already ready for a good European championship. Now Riznyk will be able to play in any middle team in the Bundesliga, La Liga or Ligue 1, and then go to the top level.
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