1086 days later… Andriy Lunin will play in LaLiga once again

Euan McTear
  • 8 May 2022 11:23 BST
  • 3 min read
Andriy Lunin warming up for Real Madrid.

This Sunday night’s Madrid derby will be a unique kind of game, especially for Real Madrid, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side have already clinched the LaLiga Santander title and their focus for the remainder of the season will be on their Champions League final against Liverpool. While they’ll still want to achieve a good result at the home of their rivals Atletico Madrid, there is less pressure than there usually is on derby day.

That’s why Ancelotti plans to give Thibaut Courtois a rest and to start the young Andriy Lunin instead.

The 23-year-old Ukrainian has only played two matches so far this season, both in the Copa del Rey, but he has impressed Ancelotti throughout. As the Italian explained earlier in the campaign: “Lunin is doing very well and showing a lot of quality in training. I have told him he’ll have minutes this season. But, he does have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in front of him in Courtois. He is a goalkeeper who I am convinced will be a success in his career.”

Andriy Lunin is a goalkeeper who I am convinced will be a success in his career.
- Carlo Ancelotti

A sixth LaLiga Santander appearance for Andriy Lunin

Now, the youngster will have the chance to feature in LaLiga Santander for the first time in 1086 days. He has only played five times in Spain’s top division so far, doing so when on loan at Leganes in the 2018/19 season, last featuring in the competition on May 18th 2019.

Although he has played three times in total for Real Madrid, all of those outings came in the Copa del Rey, so this is a huge opportunity for Lunin.

Big things were expected of the shot-stopper when he arrived from Zorya Lugansk in the summer of 2018, but the brilliance of Courtois has blocked his path to the pitch. That saw Lunin go out on loan to Leganes, Real Valladolid and Real Oviedo, but now he finally has the chance to play in an important game for Los Blancos and to prove what he can do.