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Thibaut Courtois

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Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois

Courtois playing for Chelsea in 2014
Personal information
Full name Thibaut Nicolas Marc Courtois[1]
Date of birth (1992-05-11) 11 May 1992
Place of birth Bree, Belgium
Height 1.99 m (6 ft 6 12 in)[2]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Number 13
Youth career
1997–1999 Bilzen V.V.
1999–2009 Genk
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2011 Genk 41 (0)
2011– Chelsea 15 (0)
2011–2014 Atlético Madrid (loan) 111 (0)
National team
2009–2010 Belgium U18 4 (0)
2011– Belgium 27 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 November 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 18 November 2014

Thibaut Nicolas Marc Courtois (French pronunciation: ​; born 11 May 1992) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for English club Chelsea and the Belgium national team as a goalkeeper.

Despite his young age, Courtois is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world,[3][4][5] and he won the 2012–13 and 2013–14 Ricardo Zamora Trophies while on loan at Atlético Madrid.

Courtois made his senior international debut in 2011. He has earned 25 caps and played for Belgium at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Club career

Early career

Born in Bree, Courtois began his career with local side Bilzen V.V.,[6] where he started his career as a left back. Soon after, in 1999, he joined Racing Genk at the age of seven, and it was there that he was converted into a goalkeeper.


Courtois at Genk during the 2010–11 season

After progressing through the Genk youth system, Courtois, aged 16 years and 341 days, made his first team début for Genk on 17 April 2009 against Gent. He was a key figure in Genk's title victory in the 2010–11 season in the Belgian Pro League.whilst living in belgium He received the Goalkeeper of the Year and Genk's Player of the Year award, only conceding 32 goals over the course of 40 league matches and keeping 14 clean sheets for Genk.[7][8]


In July 2011 Courtois joined Premier League club Chelsea for an undisclosed fee, signing a five-year deal.[9][10]

Loan to Atlético Madrid

Within weeks of joining Chelsea, Courtois was sent on a season-long loan to Atlético Madrid.[11] Courtois was given the number 13 shirt by Atlético, which had previously been worn by David de Gea prior to his transfer to Manchester United in June 2011.[12] He then joined Atlético Madrid.

2011–12 season

Courtois made his début for Atlético in a UEFA Europa League match against Vitória de Guimarães,[13] followed by his La Liga début, a 0–0 draw with Osasuna. Courtois became first choice keeper over Sergio Asenjo, keeping four clean sheets in his first six La Liga games.[14][15][16][17][18] On 26 November 2011, Courtois received his first red card of his professional career after fouling Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, as Atlético lost the Madrid derby 4–1. Atlético reached the 2012 UEFA Europa League Final, and Courtois kept a clean sheet as the club won 3–0 over fellow Spanish side Athletic Bilbao.[19]

2012–13 season
Courtois playing for Atlético Madrid in 2013

Courtois' loan to Atlético was extended to cover the 2012–13 season.[20] His first game of the loan extension was against parent club Chelsea in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup final in Monaco, which ended in a 4–1 victory for Atlético Madrid. Later in the season Courtois set a new Atlético Madrid record of 820 minutes without conceding a goal at the Estadio Vicente Calderon,[21] ended by being beaten in a 1–0 loss to Real Sociedad.[22] Atlético reached the 2013 Copa del Rey Final, and Courtois was named man of the match[23] in a 2–1 victory against city rivals Real, the first time that Atlético had beaten Real in 14 years.

2013–14 season

For the 2013–14 season, Courtois' loan to Atlético was extended by a further 12 months.[24]

When Atlético were drawn to play Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final, it was reported that a clause in Courtois' contract required Atlético to pay Chelsea €3 million per match if they selected him against his parent club, and that Atlético could not afford such a sum. UEFA made it clear that considerations of sporting integrity made such a clause "null, void and unenforceable", and confirmed that Atlético were free to select Courtois without making any such payment.[25][26]

By conceding the fewest goals in a substantial amount of matches during the 2013–14 season, Courtois made an important contribution to Atletico's 2013–14 La Liga title, their first since 1996. Thus, he was nominated as the best goalkeeper in the league, alongside Willy Caballero of Málaga CF and Keylor Navas of Levante UD.[27]

2014–15 season

Courtois playing against Queens Park Rangers in 2014

In June 2014, Chelsea manager José Mourinho confirmed that Courtois would return to Chelsea for the upcoming season.[28] He was assigned the number 13 kit number, last worn by Victor Moses.[29] On 18 August, Mourinho announced that Courtois would start the Premier League opener against Burnley in place of Petr Čech. Although he conceded the first goal to Scott Arfield at Turf Moor, Chelsea won 3–1.[30] Courtois kept his first Premier League clean sheet in his second game, making several crucial saves in a 2–0 home win over Leicester City.[31]

On 11 September 2014, Courtois signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea, keeping him at the club until 2019. Upon signing Courtois said: "It’s really nice to have signed this new contract for five years."[32]

Courtois suffered a head injury in the first half of Chelsea's 2–0 home win over Arsenal on 5 October due to a collision with Alexis Sánchez; he was substituted and then taken to hospital.[33] He was then treated for a minor cut to his ear and released from hospital that night.[34]

International career

Courtois was first called up to the Belgium squad in October 2011[35][36] and made his début the following month in a friendly 0–0 against France, making him the youngest goalkeeper to ever play for the Belgian national team.[37][38][39]

Courtois played every minute during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, as Belgium qualified for its first major tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[40] Throughout these qualifiers, he kept six clean sheets in ten matches.

On 13 May 2014, Courtois was named in the squad to go to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[41] At the tournament, he played all five games of the Belgian team, starting with a 2–1 win against Algeria in Belo Horizonte.[42] Courtois then managed to keep consecutive clean sheets in 1–0 wins against Russia and South Korea. In the round of 16 against the United States he also kept a clean sheet during the regular playing time, but conceded one goal in the extra time and later also the decisive Argentinian goal by Gonzalo Higuaín in the quarter-final.

Personal life

Thibaut's sister Valérie is a volleyball player, who plays as a libero and represents Belgium on the international stage.[43] His parents also were volleyball players,[43] and Thibaut played volleyball in his childhood but decided to focus on football when he was 12.[43]

Career statistics


As of 4 December 2014[44]
Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Genk 2008–09 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2009–10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2010–11 40 0 1 0 3 0 44 0
Total 41 0 1 0 3 0 45 0
Atlético Madrid (loan) 2011–12 37 0 0 0 15 0 52 0
2012–13 37 0 8 0 1 0 46 0
2013–14 37 0 7 0 12 0 56 0
Total 111 0 15 0 28 0 154 0
Chelsea 2014–15 15 0 0 0 3 0 18 0
Total 15 0 0 0 3 0 18 0
Total 167 0 16 0 33 0 217 0


Belgium defend against a Serbian corner during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers; Courtois (in yellow) played every minute of the World Cup qualifiers and end stage.
As of 5 July 2014[45][46]
Belgium national team
Year Apps Goals
2011 1 0
2012 6 0
2013 7 0
2014 11 0
Total 25 0



Atlético Madrid



In February 2014, Courtois caused some stir in the Belgian national team, by saying that his rival for starting goalkeeper Simon Mignolet should stay "humble and respectful and he should remember that".[49] Though, in previous interviews, Mignolet had only said that it was his ambition to keep working and try to regain his spot in the national team.[50]


Inspired by Courtois' pose from a particular save in January 2013, a Colombian fan created a new widespread social media meme called Thibauting to pay homage to the Belgian goalkeeper.[51] In November 2013, the word was included in a shortlist composed by Van Dale (the leading Dutch dictionary) to be polled to determine the best new sports/amusement word of the year in Belgium,[52] and ended second.[53] The term is a variation on the worldwide Planking meme which was popular in 2011.


  1. ^ Acta del Partido celebrado el 28 de agosto de 2011, en Madrid - Atlético Madrid vs Osasuna; RFEF, 28 August 2011 (Spanish)
  2. ^ "Player Profile: Thibaut Courtois". 
  3. ^ "'"Courtois rated 'best in world.  
  4. ^ "The world's best footballers in 2013: Lionel Messi retains his crown".  
  5. ^ Neville, Gary (28 November 2014). "David de Gea is Manchester United's most important player right now".  
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Courtois History". 101 Great Goals. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "STATS Hosted Solution | Player Stats - Thibaut Courtois - Racing Genk". Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Courtois Completed".  
  10. ^ "Chelsea loan keeper Thibaut Courtois to Atletico Madrid".  
  11. ^ "Courtois on Loan".  
  12. ^ "Chelsea keeper Courtois targets starting line-up spot after completing Atletico loan".  
  13. ^ "Match: Guimaraes v Atlético Madrid - Europa League".  
  14. ^ "Thibaut Courtois Bio, Stats, News - Football / Soccer - - ESPN Soccernet".  
  15. ^ "Match: Atlético Madrid v Osasuna - Spanish Primera División - ESPN Soccernet".  
  16. ^ "Match: Atlético Madrid v Racing Santander - Spanish Primera División - ESPN Soccernet".  
  17. ^ "Match: Atlético Madrid v Sporting Gijon - Spanish Primera División - ESPN Soccernet".  
  18. ^ "Match: Atlético Madrid v Sevilla FC - Spanish Primera División - ESPN Soccernet".  
  19. ^ "Report: Atlético Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao".  
  20. ^ "Courtois to stay in Spain".  
  21. ^ "Courtois hopeful of Atleti extension".  
  22. ^ "Prieto strikes as Sociedad stun Atletico".  
  23. ^ Doyle, Paul (12 April 2014). "Atlético Madrid's Thibaut Courtois could be thorn in Chelsea's side".  
  24. ^ "Courtois loan extended".  
  25. ^ Hidalgo, Dani (10 April 2014). "Atlético have to pay to play Courtois if they draw Chelsea".  
  26. ^ "Chelsea: Atletico keeper Thibaut Courtois cleared to play in semi".  
  27. ^ Fernandez-Abascal, Eduardo (14 October 2014). "Chelsea Duo Thibaut Courtois And Filipe Luis Nominated For La Liga Awards".  
  28. ^ "Thibaut Courtois: Jose Mourinho says keeper will return to Chelsea And would be the future of Chelsea fc".  
  29. ^ "Squad number changes".  
  30. ^ "Burnley 1-3 Chelsea".  
  31. ^ Ronay, Barney (23 August 2014). "Diego Costa saves profligate Chelsea’s blushes against Leicester City". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  32. ^ "Courtois signs new deal". Chelsea F.C. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  33. ^ McNulty, Phil (5 October 2014). "Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  34. ^ "Courtois update".  
  35. ^ "Match Stats: Belgium v Kazakhstan".  
  36. ^ "Match Stats: Belgium v Germany".  
  37. ^ "Courtois makes Debut".  
  38. ^ Pugmire, Jerome (16 November 2011). "Belgium Draws".  
  39. ^ "Chelsea FC Loan Roundup: 11/20/11". Stephen Schmidt. 20 November 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  40. ^ "Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois labelled 'best in world' by Belgium team-mate Toby Alderweireld". BSkyB. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  41. ^ "Adnan Januzaj included in Belgium's World Cup squad".  
  42. ^ Chowdhury, Saj (17 June 2014). "Belgium 2-1 Algeria".  
  43. ^ a b c "Getting to know: Belgium “Yellow Tiger” Valérie Courtois". Retrieved 3 November 2014. 
  44. ^ "Bélgica - T. Courtois". Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  45. ^ Thibaut Courtois at
  46. ^ "Thibaut Courtois - national football team player". 
  47. ^ "Ivan Perisic is Profvoetballer van het Jaar" (in Dutch).  
  48. ^ "Thibaut Courtois beste Belg in buitenland".  
  49. ^ "Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois blasts ‘disrespectful’ Liverpool stopper Simon Mignolet in Belgium no.1 battle".  
  50. ^ Reulens, Claudio (1 January 2014). """Mignolet: "Er kan maar één doelman spelen…. (in Dutch). 
  51. ^ "Courtois speelt mee met eigen internethype: Thibauting".  
  52. ^ "Wordt Thibauting ‘Sportwoord van het Jaar'?".  
  53. ^ "Hét Woord van het Jaar 2013 is bekend!" (in Nederlands).  

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