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Courtois concerned by 'unhealthy' Chelsea return

ESPN staff
May 21, 2014 « Groves: Froch is a broken man | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Thibaut Courtois is keen to sit down with Jose Mourinho to discuss his Chelsea future © Getty Images
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Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says it would not be healthy for him to return to Chelsea as Petr Cech's understudy.

Courtois, who is set to play the final game of his third season on loan from the Premier League club in Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid, recently warned his employers he would not be prepared to play second fiddle to Cech next season.

The 22-year-old has been integral in helping Atletico win their first league title in 18 years and has also enjoyed Europa League, European Super Cup and Copa del Rey success during his time at the club.

"Things are unclear at the moment," Courtois told BBC Sport. "I have the biggest respect for Petr Cech. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world so I think putting him and me in the same team is not the healthiest thing in the world.

"The two of us want to play everything. Nobody will be happy to play in only the League Cup or FA Cup.

"With the World Cup coming, I wanted this resolved quickly as I have to concentrate on that, but that was not possible. We will see in the next week if we can sit together with Chelsea to find something for next year, find out what they want, what my desire is. We will see."

It has been reported that Chelsea were prepared to allow Courtois to extend his loan spell in Madrid next season, as long as the Belgian extended his contract at Stamford Bridge.

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

The situation is equally as complicated for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who could be without Cech for the start of the new Premier League season. The 32-year-old underwent shoulder surgery to correct an injury he picked up in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Diego Simeone's side.

Courtois admits those semi-final games left him with divided loyalties, feeling "strange" to be a part of the Atletico side that eliminated his club.

"It was strange and weird knocking out Chelsea," said Courtois. "Normally when you win a semi-final you celebrate really hard, but I didn't do it because Chelsea bought me and gave me the opportunity to play for Atletico for three years.

"I showed respect to the Chelsea players and supporters and they to me. It was a nice feeling and hopefully I can give them those things back in the future."

Courtois is looking forward to Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid with relish, as he suggested the newly crowned Spanish league champions Atletico will continue with their ploy of counter-attacking against their local rivals.

"We know these are top players and it will not be easy," he added. "I think we will play the same game as we always do. There are some teams that play more defensive against us and we found it more difficult to make the game.

"Against Real Madrid they will have to come more. We will have to defend well and play more on the counter-attack."

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