• Premier League

Simeone keen to retain Courtois

ESPN staff
March 14, 2013
Diego Simeone would love to keep Thibaut Courtois © Getty Images

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says he wants Thibaut Courtois to stay at the club, but the promising goalkeeper's owners Chelsea also have a say in his future.

Courtois, 20, signed for the Premier League side in summer 2011 from Genk, and was immediately loaned to Atletico, where he played a key role in last season's Europa League victory and has continued to impress this term as the Rojiblancos have reached third place in La Liga and the Copa del Rey final.

The Belgium international said this week that he wished to stay in Spain and Simeone told reporters after training on Wednesday that he would like that to happen too, but Chelsea's views must be taken into account.

"It does not just depend on us," Simeone said. "He is a great keeper, young with a future, but also with a present. The best for the team would be for him to stay."

Simeone, who recently signed a new contract tying him to Atletico until 2017, has conceded that he could not guarantee attacking stars Radamel Falcao and Arda Turan would remain at the club next season, though regulars including captain Gabi, Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, Mario Suarez and Miranda have all recently agreed new deals.

The Argentine boss said centre-back Miranda's signing of a two-year extension earlier this week showed that Atletico, not always known for stability in the past, are building towards a solid future.

"The club keeps making important steps to keep growing," Simeone said. "This extension helps to maintain the defensive structure. It is very important for us."

Atletico slipped down to third place in the Primera Division table, behind city rivals Real Madrid, after last weekend's first home defeat of the season against Real Sociedad. Simeone said Saturday's game at Osasuna would be another stiff test for his team.

"They will be tough opponent and we will need to show a lot of intensity," he said. "They are an opponent who play very well from midfield and going forward. They also concede few goals."

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