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Champions League

Thibaut Courtois reflects on acrimonious Chelsea exit ahead of Champions League reunion


Thibaut Courtois insists he “only has good memories” of his time at Chelsea despite admitting his departure “wasn’t in the best way”.

The Real Madrid keeper made several saves against Liverpool on Wednesday night to set up a Champions League semi-final showdown against his former side.

And afterwards, the 28-year-old said he was relishing the chance to face former team-mates over the two-legged tie

“It will be very nice to see a lot of familiar faces and I wish there was public at Stamford Bridge because there was a lot of happy moments I had there,” Courtois told BeIN Sports following Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at Anfield.

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“Even though maybe my departure wasn’t in the best way, or it was put that way, that it wasn’t the best way, I only have good memories.

Thibaut Courtois saves from Mohamed Salah during the quarter-final clash between Real Madrid and Liverpool at Anfield
Thibaut Courtois saves from Mohamed Salah during the quarter-final clash between Real Madrid and Liverpool at Anfield

“Two Premier Leagues, a lot of other trophies – I’m really happy to play them, but only one can be in the final and I hope it’s Real Madrid.”

Madrid will face Chelsea after Thomas Tuchel’s side beat Porto 2-1 on aggregate over two legs, with their 2-0 win from the opening leg enough to see them through.

Courtois left Stamford Bridge for the Bernabeu for £31million in the summer of 2018 after rejecting the offer of a new contract, and has previously opened up on the tough negotiations with Blues director Marina Granovskaia.

“That Marina is hard at negotiation is normal,” said the Belgium keeper in an interview with HLN.

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Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois is relishing the chance to face his former club Chelsea
Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois is relishing the chance to face his former club Chelsea

“The people in football who are talking about contracts, salaries, transfers, etc. that get players and dispose of them, they have the most difficult job.

“Marina and I had a meeting in which I indicated that I wanted to leave.

“Living in London and the schedule of the Premier League made it impossible for me to regularly see my children, who lived in Madrid.”

He claimed the club’s stance had changed somewhat after he returned from the World Cup that summer, as finding a replacement was proving difficult.

Courtois said: “What turned out? After the World Cup, a departure was suddenly not that obvious anymore.

“The possible replacements were too expensive. Sorry, that was not the appointment. Then you have to work hard for a moment.”

Chelsea eventually signed Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for a then club record £71m – although he was ousted as the club’s No1 this season by summer signing Edouard Mendy after a couple of unconvincing seasons.

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