• Champions League

Courtois won't play against Chelsea - Atletico

ESPN staff
April 10, 2014
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Thibaut Courtois will not play against Chelsea should they be paired with Atletico Madrid in Friday's Champions League semi-final draw, the Spanish club's president has confirmed.

Atletico progressed to their first European Cup semi-final 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.

Enrique Cerezo has told Spanish radio Onda Cero that "a large sum of money" - believed to be €6 million (£4.9 million) over both legs - would need to be paid to Chelsea as per a clause added into the two clubs' loan agreement at the start of the season.

"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."

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UEFA rules prevent players being barred from featuring against other clubs, but European football's governing body are powerless to stop such clauses being inserted into loan agreements.

Courtois is into his third year on loan at Atletico having signed for Chelsea from Genk, then aged 19, for around £7.9 million. He won the Europa League and Copa del Rey trophies during his first two years in Spain.

The 21-year-old has previously said he sees his long-term future at Chelsea but is unwilling to sit on the bench with Petr Cech still the club's No.1 goalkeeper.

Earlier this season Courtois said Chelsea must decide on his future, but recently insisted he would make an imminent announcement on his future, with the goalkeeper tipped to spend yet another season on loan at Atletico.

Jose Mourinho had described his two goalkeepers as "the best in the world" in October. 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. He later said Courtois would be coming back to Chelsea next season.

Courtois has starred this year in an Atletico side which tops La Liga and remains the only unbeaten team in the Champions League, having conceded the fewest goals.

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 with Courtois suspended - coming 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 sent off.

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