Atletico Madrid v Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois concerned about 'playing poorly' in Champions League semi-final

The Belgian keeper will play against his parent club on Tuesday

Atletico Madrid's on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has admitted his relief at being allowed to play against parent club Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals.

The 21-year-old goalkeeper has established himself as one of the key figures in Diego Simeone's eye-catching side as they pursue both domestic and continental honours, but had feared he may be forced to miss one of the biggest games of their season after the Champions League draw paired Atletico with his English employers.

Reports suggested Courtois would only be able to play if Atletico paid Chelsea a substantial sum - something the club had said they were unable to do - until UEFA released a statement saying any such contract clause would be invalid and Courtois could play.

"(I was) very relieved," Courtois told FIFA's website. "For me, the fact that we've drawn Chelsea, like we did in the European Super Cup [in 2012, when Atletico won 4-1], is special, because even though I'm at Atleti, Chelsea are my club too. It's better not to think about it too much though and play like I always do, because if I start thinking, 'Oh, I'd better be careful', then I'll end up playing poorly.

"I want to win trophies here and I'll be an Atleti supporter for these two games, but at all other times I'm a Chelsea fan too. I hope they win the Premier League, just not these two [Champions League] matches. I really hope we can reach the final as we're so close. They're the favourites, but [beaten quarter-final opponents] Barca were too."

 

The first leg of the tie will be played in Madrid on Tuesday, with the return in London next week.

Atletico are also the surprise leaders in the Primera Division, topping the table from Barcelona by four points with four games left, with Real Madrid also still in the hunt just behind and with a game in hand.

Courtois has already lifted the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Copa del Rey in his three seasons on loan in Madrid, and admits he never expected so much success when he first made the move.

"I didn't expect it, no," he said. "I remember playing my first game in the Belgian league just before turning 17 and dreaming of having a good career over there, but I didn't imagine playing for a big club or winning trophies like these.

"And now we're not far away from the most important one of them all, the Champions League. We've got the Liga title close too which, because of Barcelona and [Real] Madrid, you never think you'll get the chance to win. They've got better individuals but we're a very good team and that's important, because you don't need to rely on any one player to win the championship.

"It's going to be hard to repeat all this though. We're having a huge season and, now we've got this far, we've got to try and take advantage. It'll be tough to take if it ends without us winning anything, but it won't be for lack of trying."

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works