Fabien Barthez believes Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois has what it takes to become a goalkeeping great, but has warned against the lack of evolution shown by today's crop of keepers.
The former France No.1, now a motorsport racer, expressed his admiration for the 23-year-old and insists that the 6' 6" shot-stopper will continue to excel.
Since returning from a three-year loan spell at Atletico Madrid, for whom he won La Liga and reached the Champions League final last season, Courtois has established himself as one of the world's finest, whilst also cementing his place as Jose Mourinho's first-choice goalkeeper.
"I like Hugo [Lloris] a lot," Barthez told FIFA.com. "Then there's Courtois. To my mind, he’s the goalkeeping great of the future. And I think he’ll maintain that status for a few years too."
In what has been a successful return for Courtois, winning the Premier League and League Cup, the young Belgian has accumulated 12 clean sheets and is in contention for the prestigious Golden Glove.
As a result of such form, veteran Petr Cech has long since been forced to play a bit-part role in Mourinho's rampant side–an impressive feat given the calibre of the Czech Republican.
Areas on concern
Barthez continued to express his concern over the shortage of foreward-thinking goalkeepers.
"There are a lot of keepers in Europe’s major leagues who aren’t very good with their feet. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Courtois and Lloris all play pretty high up but most keepers still lack depth in their game.
"We’re almost going backwards. In the 1980s keepers had to be big. They had to take up as much space in the goal as possible, and we’ve gone back to that a little bit."