New Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois' family situation is the only reason he forced a move from Chelsea to Spain, his agent said Sunday, and things would have been different had Courtois' children lived in London.
The representative, Christophe Henrotay, made the statement in an interview with BBC Radio5 (h/t EFE, for AS):
"If his family had been in London it would all have been different; he would have stayed there. There would have been no reason to leave a club like Chelsea, where he had the opportunity to continue winning important titles. Unfortunately, his children live with their mother in Madrid. It was entirely down to personal reasons and that has to be respected. Chelsea understood the situation and enabled the deal to happen."
Courtois met his former partner while he was on loan with Atletico Madrid, and his children stayed with their mother when he moved to Chelsea. He never made a secret of his desire to return to Madrid, and he forced the Blues' hand this summer, per the report.
Chelsea landed Athletic Bilbao stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga as his replacement before the Premier League transfer deadline, but that move barely softened the blow. Atletico fans are just as upset as their Blues counterparts:
Outside the Wanda Metropolitano, the Thibaut Courtois plaque is getting lots of attention. Someone has sprayed 'rata' in graffiti over it, others spit and pour beer. Two security guards stop further vandalism... #Atleti #RealMadrid #AtletiInter pic.twitter.com/VLZImJbpOp— Ben Hayward (@bghayward) August 11, 2018
There are plenty of fans and analysts who understand Courtois' decision not to show up for training in west London to force the club's hand:
But such a move is never going to sit well with all fans, even if personal or family issues are involved. A transfer was likely in the best interest of everyone given his contract situation―he would have been a free agent next summer―but that's not the takeaway now that this saga is over.
Courtois could make his official debut against old club Atletico in the UEFA Supercup in Wednesday.