Chelsea Handed Huge Boost Ahead Of Potential Champions League Showdown With Atletico Madrid

By on April 10, 2014
Thibaut Courtois

Photo: Goal.com

Chelsea have been handed a huge boost after Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo confirmed the club wouldn’t be able to field on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois should they be paired with the Blues in tomorrow’s Champions League semi-final draw, according to the Daily Mail.

Chelsea booked their place in the last four with a dramatic last gasp victory over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night and they might now be hoping to draw Atletico Madrid after it emerged that on-loan keeper Courtois has a clause in his contract that means the La Liga hopefuls would have to pay a sizeable fee in order to play the Belgian against his parent club.

The news dampened celebrations after Atletico had knocked out Barcelona 2-1 on aggregate on Wednesday night to secure their place in the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years. After the game president Cerezo confirmed to Spanish radio station Onda Cero the existence of a clause in Courtois’ loan agreement which would rule him out of any potential games with Chelsea:

“It’s a large sum of money that we would be unable to pay” Cerezo is quoted as saying by the Mail.

The Daily Mail claim the fee is around €3m per game and with Atletico’s current financial situation still precarious, they simply wouldn’t have the funds required to pay the €6m for Courtois to play in both legs.

This would obviously be a huge blow to Atletico and to the player himself, but hand Chelsea a distinct advantage should they be paired with Diego Simone’s side in tomorrow’s draw. Courtois has been one of Madrid’s best players this season and not only are they the only remaining unbeaten side in the Champions League, but the Belgian has conceded the fewest goals in the competition.

Preventing on-loan players to play against their parent club is against UEFA laws for European competition so clubs have started to insert clauses in to the loan agreements – as Chelsea have done in this case. Real Madrid famously regretted not inserting such a clause back in 2003/04 when they loaned Fernando Morientes to Monaco only for the striker to score twice against them in the quarter-finals to help knock the Spanish giants out of the competition.

Thankfully for Chelsea, such a situation won’t arise if they are drawn to face Atletico Madrid in Friday’s semi-final draw and Simone would be forced to call-upon 34-year-old stopper Dani Aranzubia – who’s made just one first team appearance since joining the club last summer.

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