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Courtois warns Chelsea over game time

ESPN staff
May 19, 2014 « Van Gaal drops Van Persie hint | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Thibaut Courtois could yet extend his stay at Atletico Madrid for another season © Getty Images
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Thibaut Courtois has fired another warning to Chelsea that he has no intention of kicking his heels on the Stamford Bridge bench as understudy to Petr Cech next season.

The goalkeeper is set to play the final game of his third season on loan from the Premier League club at Atletico Madrid in Saturday's Champions League final, with reports that Jose Mourinho is ready to make him Chelsea's No.1 next season.

Courtois has been an integral part of an Atletico side that won the club's first title in 18 years by drawing at Barcelona last weekend and has also won the Europa League, the European Super Cup and the Copa del Rey in his time in the Spanish capital.

Manger Diego Simeone has says he is the "best in the world" but the 22-year-old is adamant he needs regular football to continue developing.

"I am not sure yet what happens next season," he said. "It is a great feeling to be champions of Spain. We have the Champions League final next week and then the World Cup. Now is not the time to think about my future.

"If I move somewhere, I will play. At my age, the most important thing for me - and what I want to do - is to play. Petr [Cech] is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he won the Golden Glove in the Premier League this season. I have a lot of respect for him. I have two years [left on my] contract with Chelsea, so we will see what they decide."

It is believed Chelsea were willing to allow Courtois to extend his stay in Madrid for another season as long as he extended his contract with his parent club.

However, the disagreement surrounding Courtois' eligibility for the Champions League semi-final between the two sides has complicated the matter, according to Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Martin.

UEFA threatened to hit Chelsea with sanctions if they didn't let Courtois play, despite a clause in the loan agreement between the two clubs saying Atletico would have to pay a reported £5 million should Courtois feature.

"What happens with him will be decided after the Champions League final," Gil Marin said. "It was all agreed, but the draw bringing us together with Chelsea in the Champions League and the [debate over] the payment of the clause put the operation on hold."

Cech's Chelsea future is in doubt after he underwent surgery on a shoulder injury picked up in the first leg of that semi-final last month and the goalkeeper, who celebrates his 32nd birthday tomorrow, could miss the start of the season.

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