Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois a goalkeeping great of the future, says Fabian Barthez

Courtois - Chelsea

The French legend has also praised Bayern Munich stopper Manuel Neuer and Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Fabian Barthez has told FIFA that Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois is a goalkeeping great of the future.

The Belgian has been hugely impressive for Jose Mourinho’s side this year, putting in a number of top performances in his first season in the Premier League as the Blues have cantered to title success.

Before then, he had impressed during a three-year-long loan spell at Atletico Madrid, with last year in particular proving to be a productive one as he helped the Spanish side to the La Liga crown and the Champions League final.

Now, Barthez has praised the keeper, while also stating that he admires Tottenham Hotspur stopper and fellow Frenchman Hugo Lloris.

“I like Hugo [Lloris] a lot, and not just as a goalkeeper,” he said.

“I like him as a person too. Then there’s Thibaut Courtois. To my mind, he’s the goalkeeping great of the future. And I think he’ll maintain that status for a few years too.”

Despite reserving praise for the two Premier League stars, and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer on top of that, the former France international and World Cup winner has criticised goalkeepers in general for having failed to evolve.

Neuer is arguably the world’s best keeper at present, having enjoyed an impressive few years at the German champions, culminating in him winning the World Cup in Brazil last summer with his country.

He was also a runner for the Ballon d’Or, competing alongside iconic figures Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but Barthez says goalkeepers in general have failed to adapt because many in Europe aren’t very good with their feet, a particular skill of Neuer’s.

“There are a lot of keepers in Europe’s major leagues who aren’t very good with their feet, for example,’’ he added.

“The likes of Manuel Neuer, Thibaut Courtois and Hugo Lloris all play pretty high up but most keepers still lack depth in their game. We’re almost going backwards, it hasn’t evolved enough.”

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