Thibait Courtois is set for his Atletico Madrid milestone this weekend as they take on Celta Vigo.
The 21-year-old Belgian international’s rise in world football has been remarkable.
At the time, his move to Chelsea was never going to affect current Czech Player of the Year Petr Cech and Courtois was quickly loaned out to Spanish side Atletico Madrid for some much-needed top-standard experience.
He joined an Atletico Madrid side who were in compete disarray. There was little doubt that the Rojiblancos were falling so far short of their potential, but Courtois’ arrival coupled with boss Diego Simeone taking over, huge strides were taken.
The transformation was remarkably quicky, as Chelsea’s on-loan shot-stopper finished the 2011-12 season a Europa League winner, and later that summer returned to Madrid for another year’s loan.
Courtois’ career and media attention went through the roof during the 2012-13 season. He helped the club finish third in La Liga and qualify for this season’s Champions League, but the highlight was Atletico beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the Copa Del Rey final at The Bernabeu – thanks in much to Courtois’ unbelievable save from current Arsenal man Mesut Ozil.
Following a third loan-spell, his form this season has maintained at such high standards that Jose Mourinho has flatly refused his departure this summer.
Heading into his 100th La Liga game, his overall Atletico Madrid record can only be admired. He has been on the winning side 55 times, drawn 22 and suffered just 22 defeats.
Here is a memoire of his greatest Atletico Madrid moments:
image: © wshjackson