Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has confirmed that being able to be close to his children was a major factor in his decision to quit the club this summer and join Real Madrid.
Courtois, who won the Golden Glove award following the 2018 World Cup, is expected to take over from Keylor Navas and become Los Blancos’ first-choice keeper during the upcoming season.
With just one more year on his contract at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had no choice but to sell. If they did not, they would have risked losing the quality keeper for free next summer.
This will definitely be a blow to the Blues. Courtois is one of the best keepers in the world and the club will now have to take a risk with new keeper Kepa. Many would have thought that the Belgian would have stayed at the club as he was not sold until Wednesday, but hopes were dashed on Monday after he failed to return to club training following his extended World Cup break.
Maurizio Sarri’s side have, however, cashed in from the deal as it saw Mateo Kovacic making his way to the Bridge from Madrid. The 24-year-old midfielder will add quality to the Chelsea outfield, which most pundits believe does not have enough fire-power to challenge for major silverware during the upcoming season.
Courtois appears to be thankful to Chelsea for providing him with the opportunity to play for the club. After ousting Petr Cech as first-choice shot-stopper for the club in 2015, he went on to win two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup with the club. He also was crowned the winner of the Premier League Golden Glove award during the 2016-17 season.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Courtois wrote, as reported by The Mirror: “Hello CFC Family,”
“With these few words I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for the four fantastic years that have passed. Chelsea FC will always have a special place in my heart.
“I was only nineteen years old when the club showed a great belief in my abilities. The fact that such a big club was already following me was like a dream come true. The decision to first send me away helped me to grow into a goalkeeper fit for Chelsea FC.
“When I returned, I was very happy to be part of one of the biggest teams in the world. I fulfilled a childhood dream playing in the Premier League, therefore I am really proud that we were able to win two Premier League titles, a League Cup and a FA cup!
“A huge thank you to all my teammates and technical staff over the past four years who I shared this success and amazing moments with, both on and off the pitch. The team would never be successful without the help of all the other members who are devoted to the players and the club, such as the medical department, kit men and all the others who I can’t thank separately!”