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Sep 6, 2013

Thibaut Courtois ready for Blues battle

Thibaut Courtois says he is not scared about battling with Petr Cech for a starting spot at Chelsea, and will likely be doing so next season.

Thibaut Courtois won La Liga's prestigious 'Zamora' goalkeeping award
Thibaut Courtois is enjoying life at Atletico Madrid.

• Worrall: Bargain of century?

Courtois, 21, joined the Blues from Genk for around €6 million in July 2011 and was immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid, where he has won the Europa League, Supercup and Copa del Rey trophies in his first two seasons.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had wanted the Belgium international to return to the Premier League this summer, but the goalkeeper told Belgian publication DH that he had preferred to remain at Atletico for one more season to ensure he was playing regularly ahead of next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

“The club and Mourinho wanted me to return already this year,” Courtois said. “The directors also liked the idea of loaning me to a team in the Premier League. But I did not like that option, I feel very good in Madrid and wanted to play in the Champions League with Atletico.

“Whether to go to Chelsea was a big decision. I could play and then that would be perfect, but also maybe I might not play and I could lose my starting place with the national team. It would be a risk ahead of the World Cup.”

Courtois said he is confident that Mourinho will give him a fair shot at ousting Cech once he returns to Chelsea.

“I have no fear of fighting for a place with Cech,” he said. “I am not afraid of anyone. I trust in my ability and I know that Mourinho does not choose players based on status. The proof is that he left [Iker] Casillas on the bench because he believed Diego Lopez was training better.”

But for the moment, continuing at Atletico makes the most sense, Courtois maintained.

“Next year I could allow myself to take more risks,” he said. “But for the moment, the important thing for me, as a young player, is to keep playing to reach my best level.”

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