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Aug, 28, 2012

Courtois excited by 'special' clash

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says he has no mixed allegiances ahead of facing his parent club Chelsea in Friday's European Super Cup.

Courtois was signed by the Premier League side from KRC Genk for £8 million in July 2011, then sent straight on loan to gain experience in La Liga. Chelsea's Champions League success, coupled with Atletico's victory in the Europa League, means his two sides now meet in the UEFA showpiece event in Monaco.

The Belgium international has explained that the game would be special, but he would not be holding back.

"It's special for me as the game is against my club," Courtois said. "But I play for Atletico, it's me against Chelsea, and I want to win it."

Courtois, 20, knows new Chelsea star Eden Hazard through their international set-up, and is also in regular contact with staff at the Stamford Bridge club.

"I keep my fingers crossed for them, for all my friends at Chelsea and for my Belgium team-mates who play there now," he said. "I wish them the best of luck. But I want to win the Super Cup. I hope it will be a good match and may the better team win."

The young keeper arrived at Atletico soon after David de Gea had left for Manchester United, and settled quickly at the Vicente Calderon, making 52 appearances as his new side finished fifth in La Liga and won the Europa League trophy.

Playing regularly at Atletico had helped to improve his game, Courtois said.

"I had to adapt to the rhythm, which is faster here," he said. "It was tricky for maybe the first five or six weeks. I had to adapt to the positions of the players. I have more experience now and am better at a lot of things - at close-range shots and my reactions. My hand reflexes are better than one or two years ago."

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