Jan 10, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT
Chelsea find themselves between a rock and a hard place regarding their goalkeeping future.
It’s an age-old problem in sports that to this day no one has perfected (save maybe the Indianapolis Colts).
In one hand: an aging, tenured veteran who the fans adore and still has a bit left in the tank at the top level. In the other hand: a budding young star who wants to play and deserves to.
The first is Petr Cech. The second is Thibaut Courtois.
With Courtois already a household name having spent the past three seasons on loan to Atletico Madrid and supplanting Simon Mignolet as the Belgian number one, he’s going to start – somewhere – next season.
Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho, having the legendary Petr Cech in goal makes things difficult.
“My agent is talking with Chelsea. One of the coming weeks I’ll have a chat with Jose Mourinho,” Courtois reportedly said. “I think there will be a decision about my future at the end of March, or in the first weeks of April.”
Mourinho is well aware of the situation, and outwardly he’s confident. Back in November, he reassured fans saying,
“In this moment we are in a good situation,” he said. “I repeat that because we have the best goalkeeper in the world at a stable age. And Courtois is undoubtedly the best young goalkeeper in the world with two more years of contract. We are in control of the situation.”
But it wouldn’t appear that is the case. At 31 years old, the Headgear Hero still has a lot left in the tank. Mourinho in November referenced Edwin van der Sar’s long-lasting career. The legendary Dutch keeper moved from Fulham to Manchester United at an older age than Cech is now (35, to be exact) and proceeded to become an Old Trafford icon.
However, Courtois wants to start now, and that’s understandable. The 21-year-old has a clean sheet in half his La Liga matches this year, and has helped Atletico Madrid into a title challenge against Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But the real reason he’s swiftly becoming so coveted is because he’s been able to keep his form in the Champions League, something where many budding players falter.
Barcelona originally approached Courtois about becoming their goalkeeper of the future, but when he turned down the advance they opted for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, a move which looks imminent this summer.
With Barca out of the picture, Mourinho can breathe on the situation…for now. But convincing Courtois to stay put much longer as second fiddle is going to be next to impossible. So what is a Portugese manager to do?
Will he cement Cech’s legendary status by keeping him at Stamford Bridge for a while longer? Or will he disrespect Chelsea’s all-time great by selecting Courtois as Chelsea’s keeper of the future?
Mar 9, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT
It likely means very little, but it’s a narrative we’ll be watching all year… and the first salvo belongs to the Western Conference.
Mar 9, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT
He’s in Barcelona. She’s from Colombia. Their kid is named Milan.
Mar 9, 2014, 9:38 PM EDT
It was a small sample size for the Premier League, but that didn’t stop some stars from shining in Round 29.
Mar 9, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT
With Levante already trailing Real Madrid 2-0, David Navarro took a red card for a harsh foul on the international star.
Mar 9, 2014, 8:23 PM EDT
Aside from the Gunners, there shouldn’t be too many hurt feelings amongst the other giants of Europe.
Mar 9, 2014, 7:33 PM EDT
The Old Lady beats Fiorentina to extend lead atop Serie A, dismiss opponents’ threat to third.
Mar 9, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT
Knee ailment sees Dutch midfielder out of match after 12 minutes.
Quick Six: Chelsea’s second halves, Fulham helps Cardiff, and the rest of the headlines from this weekend’s Premier League action
Mar 9, 2014, 6:56 PM EDT
The Blues are seven points clear, Fulham moves clear to the second tier, and Manchester United illuminate the depths of West Brom.
Mar 9, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
It was Valladolid’s first win over Barcelona since October 2012, and “boosted” their record in the rivalry to 4W-5D-23L.
Mar 9, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT
That’s a photo from an actual Serie A match between Lazio and Atalanta. Wow.
Mar 9, 2014, 5:07 PM EDT
Wilmer Cabrera gets a win in his debut as boss of Chivas USA.
Mar 9, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT
This Johannsson kid is easily the best Icelandic-Alabaman we’ve seen in a long time.
Mar 9, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT
Meyler capped off a long run with a left-footed finish to score the second of Hull’s three goals in a shutout win over Sunderland on Sunday.
Mar 9, 2014, 3:26 PM EDT
It’s a horrifying story, and one that is sure to have severe repercussions throughout Ghana’s soccer structure.
Mar 9, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
With Pique picking up his fourth yellow against Real Valladolid, he could sit next league match to ensure his availability against Real Madrid.
Mar 9, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT
At least one of Wigan, Hull City or Sheffield United will make the FA Cup final as the quarterfinals are complete and the semifinal draw is out.
Mar 9, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT
In the midst of a 4-match winless skid in the Bundesliga – 5 if you include the Champions League drubbing by PSG – Bayer Leverkusen now lose a key midfield component.
Mar 9, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
An offshore Swiss bank account has betrayed the 62-year-old as he faces 10 years in prison.
Mar 9, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT
Jozy Altidore was left out of the Sunderland squad today thanks to a knock he picked up in training, but this season as a whole has been a train wreck.
Mar 9, 2014, 9:26 AM EDT
According to the player’s agent and brother, an English club – and possibly multiple – made a large offer for the defender, but he is happy at Real Madrid.
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