Chelsea Chief executive Ron Gourlay has confirmed that Thibaut Courtois is free to play against the blues in the Champions League semi-finals. Chelsea have been drawn against Atletico Madrid, where Courtois has spent the last few years on loan from Chelsea. During this period, he has developed a reputation for being the best young goalkeeper in the world, while some even regard him to be the best. Period.
There has been huge speculation ahead of the Champions League draw whether Courtois would be able to play against Chelsea or not. Gourlay has put an end to the speculation by saying:
“The loan was arranged back in the start of the season. He can play against Chelsea, that’s never in doubt.
“Regarding the Uefa statement we’ll evaluate that in due course. As far as we are concerned we will comply with loan rules. He can play in both ties against Chelsea if selected. That is fact.”
According to loan rules in the Premier League, players cannot play against their parent clubs. However, the rules are slightly different in the Champions League and considering that the two teams are from different countries. Speculation has been that Courtois would be capable of representing the Spanish outfit.
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo recently stated that they would be unable to field the 21-year-old against Chelsea due to a contractual agreement, which would make the blues eligible for a £5 million fee (£ 2.5 million for each match) if he is used against us. He said:
“It’s a number we can’t afford to pay. The problem is whether he can play or not if we come up against Chelsea. It could be that he cannot, the contract is the contract.”
Ironically, UEFA released a statement just hours before the draw was made stating that Courtois could play against Chelsea without having to pay any fee. Now, that is one for conspiracy theorists.
Courtois was signed from Genk in 2011, but he has not played a single match for Chelsea.