In a much-needed boost for Real Madrid, the club are set to welcome back two pivotal players from injury ahead of their La Liga showdown with Sevilla on Sunday.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even though we’re apart, this year made us feel united. As a team, as a nation, as a world. Let’s take on 2021, full force ahead. 🚀 pic.twitter.com/aKRtcGVUbI— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) January 1, 2021
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.
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.
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.
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.