It would have been easy for Thibaut Courtois to "throw in the towel" after his nightmare debut campaign with Real Madrid, according to Roberto Martinez, who has praised the goalkeeper for turning his career at Santiago Bernabeu around over the past year.
Courtois completed a £35 million ($44m) move to Madrid from Chelsea in August 2018, after spending seven successful seasons in the Premier League.
The 27-year-old committed to a six-year contract with the Spanish giants, but quickly found himself under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons after taking the number one jersey from Keylor Navas.
Madrid finished the 2018-19 season without a single piece of silverware, and Courtois was guilty of making several high-profile errors which cost the team valuable points.
It was suggested that the Blancos were considering cutting their losses on the Belgium international last summer, but he ended up staying at the Bernabeu and has since rediscovered his best form.
Zinedine Zidane's men boasted the best defensive record in La Liga before the season was suspended due to coronavirus, with Courtois recording 12 clean sheets in 24 outings.
He has also performed well in Madrid's run to the last 16 of the Champions League, and Martinez says the shot-stopper has shown "great maturity" to overcome his early struggles in the Spanish capital.
The Belgium boss told El Espanyol: "I think that Thibaut, everything that happened on the field of play, never affected him in a decisive way. He was aware that he wanted to improve his performances and somehow be at his natural level.
"I have watched it with great pride. To see Thibaut have to continue working and reach the level he has reached is because he is perfectly prepared to be in Real Madrid's goal.
"The easy thing would have been to throw in the towel or start blaming third parties when you're in such a difficult situation. Thibaut did the opposite.
"He showed great maturity, great self-criticism, to the point of becoming essential at Real Madrid. There are no goalkeepers like Thibaut in modern football.
"It has been a source of pride to see him grow so much on a human level and give the level he has given this season."
Martinez also weighed in on Eden Hazard's injury problems at Madrid, admitting that the postponement of Euro 2020 may have been a blessing in disguise for the winger as he continues to recover from a fractured ankle.
"I think Eden has had a very good reaction to the operation, you always have to be very aware of how it adapts and how it happens each week. The signs have been very positive," Martinez added.
"Now he has had the opportunity to focus, to recover without having the anxiety of wanting to be on the field of play. There are no games, there are no Euros... it is something that has benefited us.
"You have to understand that there will be other players who, one more year in their careers, can bring them a difficulty to be in the squad.
"At the team level, you always have individual cases that favour you and that do not favour you. In Eden's case, let's hope he can be back on the field again if La Liga resumes before the end of August.
"I am very confident that Eden will be able to enjoy football again before the season ends."