Thibaut Courtois may be only 22 years of age, but he is already being regarded by many as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. In fact, some believe that he is already the best.
After joining Chelsea from Genk in 2011, the Belgian was sent out on loan to Atletico Madrid rightaway. He has been playing for the Spanish club ever since and has established himself as one of their key players.
In his three years at the Vicente Calderon, Courtois has won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League, and reached the final of the Champions League last month.
Chelsea are said to be keen on him returning to Stamford Bridge after the World Cup, but the player has now made it clear that he will go only on one condition: he needs to be guaranteed a regular first-team place.
‘I think with my age and the performances I have had, I want to play’, Goal.com quotes him as saying. ‘To be on the bench is not the nicest thing. But I will decide after the World Cup, I think. Everything will then be clear’.
Petr Cech may have turned 32 last month, but the Czech Republic international remains as strong as ever. He suffered with injuries in the 2013-14 season, but the former Rennes shot-stopper is not going to be happy if he is relegated to the bench in favour of Courtois.
It is clear that Courtois will return to Chelsea for next season only if he is guaranteed regular playing time, something which at the moment he is not because of Cech. Following the youngster’s comments, it is evident that so far Blues manager Jose Mourinho has failed to assure him of that.
If Mourinho has indeed managed to convince him to return to London, then why does Courtois say that he will make a decision after the World Cup? Some high-profile players such as David Luiz and Cesc Fabregas have already decided on their next move.
The only logical reason why the Belgium international has yet to make up his mind is that he is still not assured of a regular place in the Chelsea lineup next season.
Is there still a chance that Atletico might retain his services for the 2014-15 campaign? At the moment, it seems that there is, even though the Spanish champions have agreed to sign Miguel Angel Moya from Getafe on a three-year contract.