Chelsea fans were presented with a mouth watering clash last night when Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech shook hands in the tunnel before the Atletico Madrid v Chelsea game in the Champions League.
Cech would have looked deep into the Belgian’s eyes, knowing that he wanted his number one spot at Stamford Bridge and knowing that the Belgian would also have the platform of the World Cup on which to perform this summer.
A little over a quarter of an hour into the game and Cech fell hard on his right elbow, which forced him out of the game and if he caught any of the match on a TV in the Madrid hospital he visited, he would have been daunted by what he saw.
Courtois looked like the complete goalkeeper last night.
His height allows him to compensate for his fragile frame, allowing him to show urgency to come and collect the ball from corners and free kicks to take the pressure off of his defence.
Those are key traits he’ll need to show when he does where Chelsea colours because there are plenty of forwards who will stand right in front of him or in Any Carroll’s case, punch him in the face.
He also showed remarkable composure when Atletico did face rare spells of Chelsea pressure.
His positional sense allowed him to get into good spots where he could make difficult shots relatively easy to save by getting right in behind the ball and using his torso to take the impact of a heavy shot.
His distribution was also superb with a 90% passing accuracy during the game and 66% of the long balls he attempted finding their intended targets.
What happens next in relation to the 21-year-old’s future is unclear but the latest reports suggest Chelsea are trying to get Courtois to sign a new contract before loaning him back to Atletico Madrid for one final season.
Chelsea have a very special goalkeeper on their hands but unless Cech’s elbow injury turns out to be far more serious than first thought, Courtois may not be playing in West London until after this time next season.