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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Apr 10, 2014

Courtois won't face Chelsea - Atletico

ESPN FC commentator Mark Donaldson recaps Atletico Madrid's unlikely victory over Barcelona to advance to the Champions League semi-finals.

Thibaut Courtois will not play against Chelsea should they be paired with Atletico Madrid in Friday's Champions League semifinal draw, the Spanish club's president has confirmed.

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• Tomas: Disappointing Barca crash out of Europe
Madrid media hail Atletico progress
Poll: Who will win the Champions League?

Courtois -- currently on loan at Atletico from Chelsea -- has played a significant role in the Spanish side's success this season both at home and abroad. Los Rojiblancos are currently top of La Liga and remain the only unbeaten team in the Champions League, having conceded the fewest goals.

Atletico progressed to the last four of the European Cup for the first time in 40 years with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Barcelona after Koke's goal gave them a 1-0 win at home in Wednesday's second leg at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.

Club president Enrique Cerezo has told Spanish radio Onda Cero that "a large quantity of money" -- which AS reports to be three million euros per match -- would need to be paid to Chelsea as per the two clubs' loan agreement.

"The problem is whether Courtois can play if we get Chelsea in the draw," he said. "There is something in the contract. For him to play we would have to pay a large quantity of money, a figure we cannot pay."

UEFA rules prevent players being barred from featuring against other clubs, but European football's governing body cannot stop such clauses being inserted into loan agreements.

Courtois is into his third year on loan at Atletico having signed for Chelsea from Genk at the age of 19. He won the Europa League and Copa del Rey trophies during his first two years in Spain.

Cerezo and Atletico head coach Diego Simeone have both said they want to make Courtois' stay permanent this summer, while the 21-year-old said earlier this month that he would make a decision on his future this week.

Atletico would likely be forced to field second choice goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia, 34, who has featured only twice this season. His first outing was in December's 2-0 Champions League group-stage win at home to Porto, which came after Atletico had already qualified for the knockout stages.

His most recent appearance came in February's 2-0 Liga defeat to Almeria, in which he was at fault for both goals and was sent off.

Earlier this season, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho described his two goalkeepers as "the best in the world."

Responding to questions about Cech's milestone 300th league appearance for Chelsea, Mourinho described his No. 1 as "fantastic," and said his young understudy was "the best young goalkeeper" in the game. 

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