Courtois' real invite to Hazard

Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throwing balls to spectators during his presentation as a Real Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid yesterday. He had refused to turn up for training at Chelsea earlier this week in a bid to for
Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois throwing balls to spectators during his presentation as a Real Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid yesterday. He had refused to turn up for training at Chelsea earlier this week in a bid to force through a transfer.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Goalie wants Bernabeu reunion with Chelsea star; Everton the most active on deadline day

MADRID •  Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could not resist a parting shot at Chelsea after completing his acrimonious £35 million (S$61.4 million) move to Real Madrid yesterday - calling on former team-mate Eden Hazard to join him at the Santiago Bernabeu in the future.

Courtois had been forced to take down his farewell post on Instagram after being bombarded by comments from Chelsea fans, who were angered by the way he engineered his Stamford Bridge exit - with his refusal to return to training earlier this week.

But he showed no signs he had been affected, calling Real "the best club in the world" at his unveiling.

"I'm so proud to be coming to the best club in the world, I'm very excited by this challenge," he said.

"I'm coming into a club that has just won three Champions Leagues in a row and it's important to keep winning all the trophies we can. I want to continue to add success to this club's history.

"Our challenge this season is to win every title available to us. We've got a great squad and I hope I can help to keep winning things."

While he sought to draw a line under the manner in which he left London, saying that his "two kids here (in Madrid) had a significant role to play in his decision", the 26-year-old stoked the fires by suggesting it would be "brilliant" if fellow Belgian Hazard could link up with him.

"He's a wonderful player. I'd love to play alongside him again. If he ends up here one day, that would be brilliant," said the winner of the World Cup Golden Glove award, before revealing that Hazard had congratulated him on his dream move.



    • Mateo Kovacic, 24, midfielder (season loan from Real Madrid)


    • Víctor Camarasa, 24, midfielder (season loan from Real Betis)


    • Bernard, 25, midfielder (free agent)

    • Yerry Mina, 23, defender (£28.5m from Barcelona)

    • Andre Gomes, 25, midfielder (season loan from Barcelona)


    • Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, 22, midfielder (£30m from Marseille)


    • Filip Benkovic, 21, defender (£13m from Dinamo Zagreb)


    • Lucas Perez, 29, striker (£4m from Arsenal)

    • Carlos Sanchez, 32, midfielder (£4m from Fiorentina)


    • Leander Dendoncker, 23, midfielder (season loan from Anderlecht)

He also attempted to endear himself to the home faithful by kissing the club badge and apologised for singing anti-Real songs during his three-season loan spell at cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid from 2011-2014.

He said: "I got carried away in the moment when celebrating with Atletico (then). I'd like to apologise for that, it was a youthful indiscretion. I will give it my all for the Real badge."

The 1.99m stopper will be only the second Belgian to play for the 13-time European champions after Fernand Goyvaerts, who was at Real from 1965-1967.

Courtois' replacement at Chelsea, the 23-year-old Kepa Arrizabalaga who was also unveiled to the media yesterday, was equally upbeat about his world-record transfer for a goalkeeper.

"I'm incredibly happy to be here, it's a great step forward in my career and very brave of the club to take me in," said the Spaniard, who moved from Athletic Bilbao for €80 million (S$126 million) and signed a seven-year deal.

Chelsea also confirmed the season-long loan capture of Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic from Real and he was quick to express his delight.

"I am really happy and excited to be here at Chelsea. It is an amazing feeling. I will try to do my best for this club. It is a new league for me, the beginning is always tough but... I am looking forward to a great season," the 24-year-old said on the club website.

Elsewhere, manager Mauricio Pochettino said he was happy with his squad despite Tottenham being the only Premier League team not to make a signing this close season.

"It's difficult to understand for people that Tottenham didn't sign a player, but sometimes in football, you need to behave differently and we're happy with our squad," he said. "It's not about adding because it's fashionable. I have no doubt we are going to be competitive, with or without signings."

On deadline day, Fulham made the biggest deal, £30 million, to sign Marseille midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, while Everton were the most active club.

They signed Brazil winger Bernard from Shakhtar Donetsk on a free transfer as well as Barcelona duo, centre-back Yerry Mina for an initial £28.5 million and midfielder Andre Gomes on loan.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'Courtois' real invite to Hazard'. Print Edition | Subscribe