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Thibaut Courtois

BIOGRAPHY

After spending three seasons continuing his development on loan at Atletico Madrid following his signing by Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2014 having won La Liga, the Europa League, the Copa del Rey and the Super Cup during his time in the Spanish capital.

He was made number one goalkeeper in preference to long-term custodian Petr Cech by manager Jose Mourinho at the start of the 2014/15# season and quickly shone, adding a Premier League title and Capital One Cup to his impressive haul of medals at such an early age.

A regular for Belgium during the 2014 World Cup, Courtois was first choice for his country at Euro 2016.

Thibaut Courtois kept his 50th clean sheet for the Blues at Everton in December 2017, becoming the 10th goalkeeper to achieve that milestone for Chelsea.

photo of Milestone Milestone

Pre-Chelsea

At Racing Genk, he was part of the team that won the 2010/11 Belgian League, the club's first championship in nine years. It was the young keeper's first season as a regular. The year before the club had finished 11th.

The young goalkeeper's contribution earned him the accolades of Belgian Goalkeeper of the Year and Genk's Player of the Year. The team conceded 32 goals over the course of 40 league matches.

At the start of that season he played against Andre Villas-Boas's Porto outfit, the tie a qualifier for the Europa League which the Portuguese side went on to win.

He first joined Genk at the age of eight and originally played at left-back, switching to between the posts when in the 10/11 age group. He progressed through the youth ranks and made his league debut in April 2009 when aged just 16. He had moved into the squad during the winter break when two keepers departed Genk.

At the start of the 2010/11 season, Genk's number one goalkeeper had problems with his work licence so Courtois started and when he did well, he kept his place, showing calmness under pressure that belied his years.

The league championship was decided in the final play-off game, against Standard Liege who needed to win to be champions. Genk required a draw to win it. With the score 1-1, Courtois made three good saves in the last 10 minutes.

Atletico Madrid

After joining Chelsea it was then agreed he would be loaned to Atletico Madrid for the 2011/12 season, where he enjoyed an impressive campaign, making 52 appearances and collecting a Europa League winners' medal after helping his side to a 3-0 victory in the Final against Athletic Bilbao.

The loan was extended for a further 12 months to cover the 2012/13 season, in which Courtois once again impressed. He helped his loan side beat Chelsea in the Super Cup in Monaco and they competed with Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, eventually finishing third. Courtois and colleagues were however celebrating after the Spanish cup final. He made significant saves in a 2-1 win over Real in the Bernabeu.

The same month he picked up the Ricardo Zamora award which is given to the goalkeeper in the Spanish Primera Liga with the best goals conceded per game ratio. He let in just 30 in 37 league matches and also set new club records for minutes without conceding at home and away. By the end of his second season he had made 98 appearances in all competitions for Atletico. In June 2013 it was announced he was to spend a third season on loan at the Madrid club.

With Atletico challenging at the top of the Spanish League as 2014 commenced, Courtois won an award for best Belgian playing abroad in 2013. By the end of the campaign Atletico had overcome Barcelona and Real Madrid to win their first league title since 1996, the final game the decider.

There was still one big match to come - the all-Madrid Champions League final in Lisbon. With Atletico having led Real for much of the game, Courtois was eventually beaten deep into stoppage time, with the final score a 4-1 defeat after extra-time. Courtois' totals over three seasons at Atletico are 153 appearances and 75 clean sheets.

2014/15

A towering presence in the Chelsea goal, Courtois has adapted quickly to the demands of English football since being selected ahead of Petr Cech for the opening game at Burnley. He kept his place in the league team for the rest of the season, occasionally making way for his team-mate for European or League Cup fixtures, or when minor injury struck towards the end of the title-winning campaign.

Despite conceding three goals at Everton in August he produced one of the best saves of his Chelsea career to date at Goodison Park, turning compatriot Kevin Mirallas’s volley onto the post. The week before, against Leicester, he had spread himself to deny David Nugent as the forward raced clear with the game goalless. It helped the Belgian keep his maiden Chelsea clean sheet.

There was a concern when Courtois had to be replaced after a collision with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez but the keeper recovered to represent his national team the following weekend.

A small muscular injury kept Courtois out of our home victory over Hull in mid-December but he was back between the sticks and as solid as ever in a fine 2-0 away win at Stoke City 10 days later. The Blues had Courtois to thank after reaching the Capital One Cup final, with the Belgian outstanding over the course of the two-legged semi-final against Liverpool, although Petr Cech played the final against Spurs.

A remarkable triple save in a win at Hull was another memorable highlight and the Premier League title was won with clean sheet in the 1-0 over Crystal Palace.

His debut Chelsea season yielded 16 shut-outs in 39 appearances.

2015/16

The start to Courtois's second season at Stamford Bridge was not as smooth as the first, with a questionable red card in the first league game at home to Swansea followed in early September by knee surgery requiring a lengthy recovery and rehabilitation period.

He returned between the posts at the start of December and was first choice for the rest of the season, although Asmir Begovic was called into action again in the final month of the season due to a red card for Courtois in a home defeat by Manchester City and the subsequent suspension.

2016/17

Courtois was in goal for six consecutive league wins with clean sheets in October and November 2016 as Chelsea recovered strongly from defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal and a 2-2 draw at Swansea in which he conceded a penalty. The league winning run continued on to a total of 13 throughout and our goalie was especially important in a 1-0 win at Sunderland in December when he pulled off two magnificent saves.

The Belgian was equally impressive during the second half of the campaign, missing just two Premier League matches as we secured the title. In a 3-1 win over Arsenal he made two brilliant saves, while in the home victory over Manchester City he produced a brilliant stop to prevent Leroy Sane from giving the visitors the lead when the scores were level at 1-1. His 16 clean sheets ensured Courtois ended the campaign with the Premier League Golden Gloves award.

2017/18

Courtois' fourth season at Stamford Bridge mirrored the ups and downs the team experienced. He kept 19 clean sheets in all competitions, including most importantly in the final game of the season, at Wembley, where Courtois saved his best for last. He produced brilliant stops in the second half to deny Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba to preserve an advantage given to us by his compatriot Eden Hazard. It secured his first FA Cup in England. 

International

Courtois, who is 6ft 6in tall, made his debut for the Belgian national side in November 2011 against France, becoming the youngest ever goalkeeper to play for Belgium.

He has since established himself as first-choice 'keeper for the national side and played a pivotal role as they booked their place at the 2014 World Cup, the first time Belgium had qualified since 2002.

Courtois was an ever-present in Brazil as Belgium reached the quarter-finals, eventually beaten 1-0 by Argentina.

Marc Wilmots's side had won all three group matches, before overcoming USA after extra-time in the Second Round.

They fell behind against Argentina early on and struggled to impose themselves on the game. Courtois, however, played well, and made a brilliant stop to deny Lionel Messi late in the game.

He was his nation's first choice throughout their Euro 2016 qualification campaign and into the tournament in France. In a first group game defeat against Antonio Conte's Italy, Courtois emerged with more credit than most of his team-mates and he followed it with three straight clean sheets as Belgium made the quarter-finals.

In that game he produced one of the saves of the tournament to preserve a 1-0 lead over Wales but was subsequently beaten three times as one of the tournament favourites were knocked out by one of the unfancied. He and Eden Hazard were the Chelsea players who progressed the furthest at Euro 2016.