Balague: Courtois allowed to play but Atletico might not field him, why?

Stamford Bridge Inside

Chelsea and Atletico Madrid meet in the Champions League semifinal and Spain expert Guillem Balague explains why goalkeeper might not play.

A statement released by UEFA prior to their official Champions League semifinal draw made earlier today, Friday, in Nyon, Switzerland explained that they have "clear provisions" which "strictly forbid any club to exert or attempt to exert any influence over the players that another club may - or may not - field in a match."

It was an obvious reference to one of the European stories dominating the headlines this week that, in the event Atletico Madrid and Chelsea would be drawn with each other in the final four, then Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, on loan at Atleti, would be tasked with facing his parent club.

Or would he?

Reports indicated that Chelsea could be in line to receive £5m if Atletico selected Courtois to face them in the Champions League, a fee the Spanish side claimed would be too dear for them to afford.

This obviously contravenes the clear provisions UEFA reference in their statement, meaning that, legally, manager Diego Simeone can select Courtois to guard the Atletico goal without any fear his club would be £5m worse off.

However, because Courtois is likely to renew his contract with the Stamford Bridge side but the continued sturdy form of primary SW6 glovesman Petr Cech means Courtois' first-team duties would be restricted, then an extended loan deal with Atleti is in the offing.

In order to preserve that, Atletico may not field Courtois in order to keep their relationship with Chelsea sweet.

"Everybody is talking about the keeper on loan," said Balague to Sky Sports today.

"They are two similar teams and it will be decided by little details. There will be a game played in the press conferences also!"

Embellishing on one of the little details, Balague said: "Everybody's impression is Courtois would not play but if they have a chance of keeping Courtois next season then they may not play him as the player could renew his contract there and they will want him one more year. I've spoken to Atletico… they still may not play him even if the law allows them to. Courtois is crucial to Atletico."

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