Thibaut Courtois of Belgium is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and one of the youngest players in this year’s World Cup. He’s signed with Chelsea, though played on loan last season in Madrid.
Here’s what you need to know about this show-stopper.
1. At 22, He’s Already Among the World’s Best Goalies
Courtois was signed by Chelsea after a breakout year in Belgium in 2009. Petr Cech, a Czech goalie who had for a long while been one of Chelsea’s biggest stars and assets, would soon be stepping into retirement and Chelsea needed a talented breakout star to fill the big shoes being left.
The club paid roughly $15.5 million to snag Courtois and then sent him on loan to Atletico Madrid to gain some experience. Turns out Courtois is a prodigy, and he soon was playing No. 1 for Madrid and arguably better than Cech, who was still on the pitch for Chelsea. So after the World Cup he’ll be going back to Chelsea, right?
Maybe not. In late June Chelsea announced its first-team squad selection on the team website, and Courtois wasn’t part of it. Will he go back to England anyway and sit second string to Cech? Or play where he’s appreciated?