In July 2011, Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas set out to recruit the finest youngsters from around Europe for a nominal fee.
Among those to enter the club that summer was Thibaut Courtois, the commanding 6ft 5in goalkeeper arrived at Stamford Bridge from Genk for a fee in the region of £7.9m, but was immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid, with the Belgian sticking down his place in the side and becoming one of the figureheads in Diego Simeone's side.
The 21-year-old was bought to west London as a raw 19-year-old, with a view to him being the permanent successor to Blues' shot-stopper, Petr Cech, and has excelled in his position at the Vicente Calderon, firing his side into the Champions League and winning the Copa del Rey in a fierce final against local rivals Real Madrid, with Courtois being one of the stand-out performers in the game.
Courtois has produced positively alarming statistics; the Belgian managed to accumulate a staggering 20 clean sheets in 37 La Liga games, earning the most out of any goalkeeper in any of Europe's top five leagues, with a second-rate back four protecting the young man.
Courtois' mature performances for his side has earned him acclaim from many pundits and spectators, with former PSV and Rangers goalkeeper, Ronald Waterreus stating: "No. Thibaut Courtois is the best and he's only 21," when asked whether he felt Manuel Neuer was the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment.
The former Genk man has developed into somewhat of a fan favourite among the Atletico Madrid supporters, starting a trend called "Thibauting", in which fans would capture a picture of themselves in the form of making a save, inspired by their club's no.1.
However, Cech fans, don't be fazed, Courtois has publicly accepted that he will need to have patience until he can fully claim the spot as Chelsea's preferred man between the sticks, claiming: "It won't happen in one or two years, but in three, four or five years".
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