Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will leave Stamford Bridge if Thibaut Courtois returns to the club this summer, according to the latter’s former coach Guy Martens.
Courtois is due to return to Chelsea after a three-year loan spell with high-flyers Atletico Madrid, who are keen to keep the Belgium international at the Vicente Calderon for another season. However, reports suggest that Jose Mourinho will use the world-class 21-year-old as his first-choice ‘keeper from the start of the 2014/15 campaign, with Cech dropping down to the bench.
But Martens, a goalkeeper coach who mentored Courtois at Genk, believes the Czech Republic international would leave the west London outfit if displaced by the man voted La Liga’s best goalkeeper last season.
"I don't think Chelsea will be so stupid to put one Messi in goal and the other Messi on the bench,” Martens told ANP. "I don't think there will ever be a battle between Cech and Courtois. If Courtois returns, Cech will leave."
Cech, who turns 32 next month, is still considered one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League and Europe. However, there are many who now believe that Courtois, with the possible exception of Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer, is now the number one goalkeeper in world football.
Chelsea run the risk of losing him unless they make him their first-choice ‘keeper next season, although there has been talk with the Belgian will extend his current deal with the Blues before spending another campaign with La Liga contenders Atletico.
Courtois is expected to line-up against his parent club on Tuesday night, when Chelsea travel to Madrid for the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals.