Real Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois says Chelsea are ‘one of world’s best clubs’ ahead of Champions League clash

The ex-Blues goalkeeper will be back on his old stomping ground for Wednesday’s quarter-final first leg

Nick Purewal
Tuesday 05 April 2022 18:45
Marcelo's amazing goal against Chelsea in 2016

Thibaut Courtois has urged Chelsea’s eventual new owners to take the Stamford Bridge helm aware that they are buying “one of the best clubs in the world”.

The Belgium goalkeeper will be back on his old Stamford Bridge stomping ground when Real Madrid pitch up for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg.

Four rival consortiums are locked in negotiations to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich, who is selling the west London club amid Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

And the 29-year-old Courtois called on Chelsea’s suitors to keep the Blues at the top of the world game.

“I think it’s been a hard month for the club and for the fans, but I think you can see that all the people that love Chelsea are really putting all their energy together,” said Courtois.

“The new owners must know what club they are buying, and hopefully they can keep that spirit that has always been here.

“In total I was part of Chelsea for seven years, and that was a big part of my career. They gave me the chance to grow myself, to come back and to learn with Petr Cech. And I won two Premier League titles, so I’m always happy to come back here.

“I hope the new owners will understand what they are buying and that Chelsea can remain as one of the best clubs in the world.”

Thibaut Courtois during his spell at Chelsea

Courtois will come face-to-face with international teammate Romelu Lukaku in Wednesday’s clash.

Lukaku has struggled to impose himself on Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea since his club-record £98million move from Inter Milan last summer. The 28-year-old remains determined to prove his worth, though, and Courtois backed his compatriot to emerge stronger from his testing recent times.

“Romelu’s an excellent player and someone I know well from the international team of course,” said Courtois. “He’s a great striker, so it’s a bit strange not to see him play so much lately, but I’m sure he will come through it.

“Sometimes you just need a little bit of adaptation. I had the same thing in my first year at Madrid, and I’m sure he will come good.

“You come to a change in tactics, a change in team, a change in trainer and you have to adapt to everything. So, I’m sure he will come good, but I hope it’s not tomorrow – maybe he can wait one more week!”

Real could be without influential and experienced manager Carlo Ancelotti on Wednesday, with the ex-Chelsea boss dealing with Covid-19. The Italian will fly to London on Wednesday if he can test negative for Covid, otherwise his son and assistant Davide will take charge at Chelsea.

“We are lucky that the assistant is his son, so they are quite similar,” said Courtois. “We know how he wants us to train. There is a big team of coaches behind him and we are all doing well. He has been involved in video calls, so we are well prepared.

“Of course it is different if he is in the dugout in terms of a half-time team talk, but the coaches have done well.”

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