There’s really no love loss between Marca and Jose Mourinho, but it doesn’t mean that recent news of the Chelsea manager threatening Thibaut Courtois to be benched for the next two years if he doesn’t sign a new contract with the team to be untrue.
The situation is quite simple – at 21, Courtois is already mentioned as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. He is doing very well for the national team (Belgium), playing 14 times for them so far. However, most of the credit to his rise has to do with his Atletico Madrid success, starting for them over the last three years, winning the Zamora Trophy last season along with the Copa Del Rey that goes along with the 2012 Europa League and Super Cup titles.
Signed until 2016, Courtois knows that no one is benching Petr Cech anytime soon at Chelsea, even though Courtois might already be the better goalkeeper. He wants to play football for a high-level team, but the most important thing is being a starter. On most clubs he’ll go to he’s guaranteed the number one spot. At Chelsea, a club he’s been owned by since 2011, there is no guarantee, as they’ve been loaning him out since signing him from Genk.
According to the Marca, Mourinho wants to keep Courtois on a short leash and on a long contract. The young Belgian knows that right now, the better career path for him is playing for Atletico Madrid, so he’s not playing easy-to-get with Mourinho and Chelsea. In response, Mourinho is threatening him that the loaning out will stop, and Courtois will simply be forced to sit on the bench at Stamford Brirdge until he becomes a free agent.
Freezing out tactics rarely work, and if Mourinho and Chelsea are actually playing hardball with someone who might be a world class goalkeeper for the next 15 years, they’ll probably end up as the losers from this standoff, while Atletico Madrid or any other club that eventually lands Courtois on a long-term basis will be very pleased with the plunder.