Chelsea star Thibaut Courtois has revealed that he started playing football as a left-back before eventually becoming a goalkeeper.
The Belgium international, who is now one of the world’s best players in his position, claims he joined his first club Genk at the age of eight as a full-back.
He became a goalkeeper after rotating with some of his teammates and discovering he was a talented shot-stopper - thanks in part to his previous experience as a volleyball player.
Courtois: I used to be a left-back
“I started as a left-back,” Courtois revealed in an interview with Chelsea’s official website. “Because I played volleyball I had good reflexes and I liked to dive, so sometimes I went in goal when we rotated.
“I won the best goalkeeper award at a couple of tournaments and the idea grew that maybe I had more future as a goalkeeper than a defender.
“When we started to play 11 against 11 on a big pitch – I was probably 10 or 11 years old – I was pretty much always in goal, but if there were injuries I could fill in outfield.”
Courtois is the world's best goalkeeper
Courtois’ heavy touch which cost Chelsea a goal against Hull City last month suggests it’s been a little while since the Belgian played outfield - and that training as a goalkeeper was undoubtedly one of the best decisions of his life.
The 22-year-old was arguably the best goalkeeper in the world over the course of 2014, producing a series of remarkable performances for loan club Atletico Madrid before an excellent first half of the 2014-15 season with Chelsea.
Without Courtois, Atletico may not have won their first La Liga title since 1996 or reached the Champions League final last season - he was that instrumental.
But there have been a few hiccups...
This season there have been a few hiccups, but that’s to be expected from a young goalkeeper adjusting to life in new surroundings.
On the whole, though, Courtois has been magnificent for Chelsea and Jose Mourinho has been justified in his decision to drop the experienced Petr Cech for the younger ‘keeper.
Courtois is already one of the world’s best goalkeepers, while there’s an argument to suggest he’s even better than both David de Gea and Manuel Neuer.
But he will need to bounce back after conceding a 66-yard strike from Stoke City’s Charlie Adam at the weekend.
With several hugely important fixtures on the horizon for Chelsea over the forthcoming weeks, Mourinho needs his number one goalkeeper to be on top of his game.
Chelsea fans: would you drop Thibaut Courtois in favour of Petr Cech? Have your say in the comments below!
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