Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has revealed that he feels no emotional connection with the Blues having spent the last three seasons on loan with Atletico Madrid - and that he rejected the chance to return to Stamford Bridge last summer.
The 22-year-old, who has cemented his status as the best goalkeeper in La Liga - and arguably the best in the world - over the last few seasons, says it was his decision to stay in Madrid last summer instead of returning to battle Petr Cech for the number one jersey in west London.
Courtois told SportBild: “The fans and the other players at Atletico don't see me as a player out on loan. At Chelsea I have no emotional connection. They signed me up in 2011, nine million euros. Since then I've gone to London only for the medical check.
"Already last year Chelsea no longer wanted to loan. But I wanted to stay in Madrid. After this season, it all goes back over again, and it is probably even more difficult to make a decision."
Indeed, Courtois could end the season having just won La Liga and Champions League winners’ medals. The youngster, who will be Belgium’s first-choice goalkeepers at next month’s World Cup finals in Brazil, played an instrumental role in helping Atleti win their first Spanish league title since 1996. And on Saturday night he will be hoping to play a starring role as Atletico attempt to secure the first ever European Cup at the expense of fierce local rivals Real Madrid.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho reportedly wants to make Courtois his number one next season, but the Belgians’ comments suggest he would be keen to extend his stay at the Vicente Calderon under the hugely impressive coach Diego Simeone.
The Blues are keen for Courtois to extend his contract, to avert the danger of losing the goalkeeper many predict will displace Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer as the best in world football in the near future.
Quotes translated by Sport Witness.