Thibaut Courtois Profile
|Born||May 11, 1992|
Thibaut Courtois is regarded as one of the world's best goalkeepers after claiming trophies and awards at both international and club level with Belgium, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea.
Thibaut Courtois is a goalkeeper who plays for Real Madrid and the Belgium national team.
The Belgian came through the same Racing Genk youth system as compatriot Kevin De Bruyne, before his move to Chelsea for a reported fee of £8million in July 2011.
In 2009, Courtois made his Genk debut at the age of 16, replacing the injured Koen Casteels. He became a first team regular in 2010/11 and helped lead Genk to Belgian Pro League success. He kept 14 clean sheets in the campaign, was named Goalkeeper of the Year and Genk's Player of the Year.
Courtois has played for both Madrid teams, having initially been loaned to Atletico Madrid for three seasons immediately after signing for Chelsea.
At Atletico, he amassed 111 appearances for Diego Simeone's side, as he collected the Ricardo Zamora Trophy twice, in recognition of being the best goalkeeper in La Liga.
Three seasons away from Stamford Bridge was enough to convince the Chelsea management he was ready to contribute to the first team. He returned and spent three seasons with the London club before joining Real Madrid in 2018.
Internationally, Courtois became the youngest goalkeeper to play for Belgium, as he made debut in 2011 against France. Since his first appearance, he has been a regular feature in the Red Devils side, who qualified for the 2016 European Championships for the first time since 2000.
Real Madrid move
Courtois' move to Los Blancos, in 2018, made him La Liga's most expensive goalkeeper, as the £35million paid to Chelsea comfortably surpassed the fee that Benfica received from Atletico for Jan Oblak.
Chelsea had insisted the Belgian would not be sold, however, after Courtois failed to return to training after the summer break, he was allowed to move to the Bernabeu on a six-year contract.
Courtois' Atletico background, coupled with the Real fans' love of three-time Champions League winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas, put understandable pressure on the new goalkeeper.
He conceded 36 goals in 27 La Liga matches, compared to Navas' eight in 10. The Belgian was in goal for Madrid's 3-0 thumping by CSKA Moscow and 4-1 embarrassment by Ajax, as the holders of La Decima crashed out of the Champions League. He had only conceded seven goals during Atletico Madrid's 12-match march to the 2014 European final.
After Navas joined Paris Saint-Germain, Courtois started to find both confidence and form. Just 20 goals were conceded in 34 matches in the title-winning 2019/20 season. He claimed his third Zamora Trophy, keeping 17 clean sheets on his way to the goalkeeping award.
Stamford Bridge success
As with many youth products of Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's new signing from Genk was signed and then immediately loaned to Atletico Madrid.
Taking the number 13 shirt off David de Gea, who had just moved to Manchester United, the Belgian kept four clean sheets in his first six domestic games to become first choice over Sergio Asenjo. In his first full season, he would then go on to be part of the side who won the 2012 Europa League final, keeping a clean sheet as Simeone's men defeated Atletico Bilbao 3-0.
Two further loan extensions followed with Atletico. In 2012-13 Courtois set a record of 820 minutes without conceding a goal at home. In the same season, the Belgian won the UEFA Super Cup against parent club Chelsea, while also defeating Real in the Copa del Rey final, for their first derby win in 14 years. In his last year on loan he, again, conceded the fewest goals in La Liga to help Atletico secure a first top-flight title since 1996.
Three years after leaving Genk, Courtois returned to Chelsea to challenge Petr Cech's established number one position. Two trophies would follow in his first season back at Stamford Bridge (the League Cup and Premier League).
However, his second season would become one to forget as he became the sixth Premier League goalkeeper to be sent off twice in the same season, while he also sustained a leg injury which kept him out for three months.
In the 2016/17 season he was an instrumental part of the Chelsea side that went six games without conceding. He kept a further four clean sheets in December to put the Blues top, where they would remain until the end of the season, as Courtois claimed his second Premier League title.
Despite losing the FA Cup final, it was a memorable season for Courtois, who won the Golden Glove award after keeping 16 Premier League clean sheets.
Belgium's number one
Courtois is well on his way to making 100 appearances for Belgium, and was an integral part of both the World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016 qualification campaigns.
Courtois was a regular feature in a side that achieved World Cup qualification for the first time in 12 years and their first European qualification for 16 years.
However, at Euro 2016, the Belgians crashed out at the hands of Wales and the goalkeeper seemed to direct blame at manager Marc Wilmots, who would then go on to controversially accuse the Belgian and his father Thierry of leaking team sheets.
After 2016's disappointment, the Belgians bounced back at the 2018 World Cup to reach their first semi-final since 1986.
Courtois claimed another Golden Glove award, making 27 saves throughout the tournament (seven more than his nearest rival). After two clean sheets against England and Panama, it was the keeper's performances against Brazil and France that particularly stood out as he often single-handedly kept his nation in the game.
Belgium have flourished in the Nations League with the Madrid goalkeeper at the helm. They have comfortably qualified for the final four of the 2021 edition, and are currently the top-ranked national team in the world.
Courtois is multilingual and can speak Dutch, Spanish, French, English and German.
Prior to choosing his soccer career path, Courtois was encouraged by his semi-professional parents to take up volleyball. He decided to choose soccer however, his sister Valerie still plays volleyball for both Budowlani Lodz and Belgium.
Courtois has two children - Adriana (2015) and Nicolas (2017) - from a relationship with his former Spanish girlfriend Marta Dominguez.
It is estimated that Courtois' six-year Real Madrid contract has him earning up to £11.6 million a year, alongside any other performance-related incentives.
The two-time Premier League champion is also part of a Nike endorsement roster, which includes both his international colleague, De Bruyne, and also his Real Madrid team-mate, Eden Hazard.