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BREAKING NEWS

Courtois backs VAR introduction to Champions League

Courtois backs VAR introduction to Champions League
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EVA PLEVIER(Reuters)
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By Joseph Cassinelli

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has backed the introduction of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) into the Champions League ahead of their last-16 first leg at Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday.

VAR was not used in the group stages of this year's competition, but European soccer's governing body UEFA announced in December that they would introduce the technology from the last-16 onwards.

The move has been met with encouragement from Courtois, who is used to VAR after Spain's La Liga implemented the system at the start of this season.

"I like VAR. At the World Cup it worked well,” Courtois told a news conference on Tuesday.

"Everyone was in favour because it was carried out well, and in Spain, too. Sometimes you need to know the rules and fans watching perhaps sometimes don't.

"It’s there to help football. Sometimes it goes against you, but in order that football is fairer, it’s good to have it."

After an indifferent start to the season, Real are now firing on all cylinders having climbed back into the La Liga title race and they will fancy their chances against an Ajax side that have won two of their last five games.

"I can tell that people now realise it’s more difficult to beat us," Belgium keeper Courtois said.

"In October we had a bad month but now people see how well we’re playing and they’re more scared.

"We’re fighting for everything and we’re still in it: to get to the Copa del Rey final, La Liga until the final day and to get as far as we can in the Champions League.”

Madrid coach Santiago Solari, who has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the fixture, was coy about whether fullback Marcelo would be recalled to the side for the match at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

The Brazilian has lost his place under Solari to youngster Sergio Reguilon and has voiced his displeasure at his situation.

"Everyone in this squad is ready and able to play in any game," the Argentine coach said. “Marcelo is a great player, an emblem of this club and he always puts Real Madrid first. He’s training well, as is everyone else.

"I don’t know who will play (of the two) tomorrow night. I can’t answer that question yet. We still have one more training session to go so we’ll see."

(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Toby Davis)

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