Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has this evening dropped a major hint that he could depart the club for Spanish champions Real Madrid.
Now 25, Courtois joined Chelsea from Genk in 2011, before being immediately sent out on-loan to Atletico Madrid.
It was in the Spanish capital that all of Europe began to take notice of his immense potential, as Courtois solidifed himself as the club’s first-choice shotstopper despite his tender years, before going on to make 111 La Liga appearances during his three-year stint with Los Colchoneros.
Courtois returned to Stamford Bridge in 2014 as one of the most highly-regarded goalkeepers in world football, quickly usurping Petr Cech as the Blues’ no.1 option between the posts.
The 53-time capped international has since gone from strength-to-strength, solidifying himself as one of the first names on Antonio Conte’s team-sheet in the English capital.
La Liga return?
However, despite his successes at Chelsea, rumours linking Courtois with a return to Spain have never fully died down, with Atletico’s fierce rivals Real Madrid having long been reported to hold an interest in the Belgian.
Though it is common knowledge that Los Blancos’ first-choice signing would be Manchester United’s David De Gea, Courtois has reportedly been identified as the ideal alternative, with Zinedine Zidane and co. huge fans of the 6ft 6in star’s talents.
Courtois revealed late last year that he is set for contract talks with Chelsea this month, with the gifted shot-stopper having confirmed as much once again today, explaining that his intention is indeed to renew his deal at Stamford Bridge.
‘We agreed to meet again in February because the club had more urgent issues to deal with in January. There’s no pressure, I am under contract until 2019. If there is no problem, I will prolong.’
‘I am happy here and I see a club that still wants to win a lot of titles. The signals are positive. [Also] the desire to extend Eden Hazard reassures me.’
However, when drawn on the subject of his family, Courtois was decidedly less reassuring regarding the possibility of remaining with the Blues for the long-term.
The Belgian’s two young children, Adriana and Nicolas, live with their mother, Courtois’ former partner Marta Dominguez, in Madrid.
And the Chelsea star went on to admit during his interview with Sport Foot Magazine that being such a distance from his family ‘is not easy’, confirming that ‘my heart is in Madrid’:
‘My personal situation is related to the city of Madrid, it’s known. My two children live there with their mom. I have my daughter every day on Facetime. She often tells me that I miss her. My son is still too small to communicate like that.’
‘As a situation, it is not always easy. [And] yes, my heart is in Madrid. It is logical and understandable.’