- 6'5" (1.98m)
- 183 lbs (83 kg)
- May 11, 1992
Despite his young age, Thibaut Courtois is already considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Standing 6ft 6in tall, Courtois is dominant in the air against even the biggest frontlines and is armed with almost freakishly fast reflexes. Equipped with all the attributes to be a top class goalkeeper, Courtois' potential is frightening and a big future awaits the Belgium shot-stopper.
Courtois was first spotted at the age of seven by Belgian club KRC Genk, who immediately signed up the youngster. After progressing through the club's ranks, Courtois made his Genk debut at 16 before becoming a regular between the sticks in 2010-11. The Belgian was then named the league's Goalkeeper of the Year in his first full campaign and formed an integral part of Genk's title-winning team.
Big European clubs soon became aware of this talented young keeper and it was Chelsea who won the race to sign him, though with Petr Cech firmly established as No. 1 they opted to immediately send him out on loan to Atletico Madrid, who had just sold David de Gea to Manchester United.
Courtois quickly established himself as the No. 1 at the Vicente Calderon and capped an impressive first season in Spain by winning the UEFA Europa League, keeping a clean sheet in the final against Athletic Bilbao.
More silverware followed for Courtois, who opted to extend his stay with Atletico, as he lifted the 2013 Copa del Rey on the back of a season spent setting a new club record of 820 minutes without conceding a goal at home.
When Chelsea allowed Courtois' loan to be extended for a third year, they were not to know just what his impact would be; the Belgian helped eliminate the London club from the UEFA Champions League just one hurdle short of the final. Courtois also recorded the lowest goals conceded-to-games ratio in La Liga for the second successive season while helping Atletico claim the biggest prize in Spanish football before eventually returning to parent club Chelsea in time for the 2014-15 campaign.
Courtois made his international debut in 2011 and went on to play every minute of Belgium's first World Cup campaign since 2002, helping his country reach the quarterfinals of the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Strengths: Courtois' height allows him to command his penalty area and the Belgian stopper is equally adept at getting down quickly to make saves.
Weaknesses: His Long passing is slightly questionable, while his ability to organise a defence has also come under scrutiny.
Career High: In 2013-14, Courtois was a regular as Atletico Madrid became the first team in a decade to break Real Madrid and Barcelona's dominance of Spanish football. The keeper kept 19 clean sheets and in the process became widely recognised as one of the best goalkeepers in world football.
Career Low: In the same season, Courtois came within seconds of winning the Champions League but was unable to prevent his team conceding a stoppage time leveller and three more goals in extra time as Atletico lost out to bitter rivals Real Madrid.
Style: Along with his aerial prowess and intimidating stature, Courtois has a calm and collected manner -- making him unflappable between the sticks.
Quotes: "At his age, he's already one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He works hard every training session and wants to work. That's the right spirit. To be honest I don't know how he can improve his game, but he will find a way. That's good for us." Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen on his international teammate in July 2014.
Trivia: Courtois became the youngest goalkeeper to ever play for Belgium when he made his debut in a friendly match against France, aged just 19.
Words: Hal Boxhall-Dockree
|Belgium||A - Argentina||Jul 5, 2014||WC||L 1-0||Started||1||0||0||0||0|
|Belgium||H - USA||Jul 1, 2014||WC||W 2-1||Started||4||0||0||0||0|
|Belgium||A - South Korea||Jun 26, 2014||WC||W 0-1||Started||6||0||0||0||0|
|Belgium||H - Russia||Jun 22, 2014||WC||W 1-0||Started||3||0||1||0||0|
|Belgium||H - Algeria||Jun 17, 2014||WC||W 2-1||Started||0||0||0||0||0|