December 5, 2022

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Thibaut Courtois opens up on Chelsea return ahead of Champions League clash

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Thibaut Courtois is relishing what he hopes will be a “special” return to Stamford Bridge when Real Madrid face Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Madrid recovered from two goals down on aggregate to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, while the Blues saw off reigning Ligue 1 champions Lille 4-1.

The sides were subsequently paired together in the last eight in a repeat of last year’s semi-final, which Chelsea won 3-1 over two legs en route to lifting the trophy.

Courtois played in both matches, albeit with the home tie staged at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano and the away leg behind closed doors in London due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chelsea are set to play in front of a packed house for Madrid’s latest visit next Wednesday, though, after sanctions that prevented them from selling tickets were amended.

Blues fans were not happy with the way Courtois departed, but the goalkeeper is focusing more on the two Premier League titles and two domestic cups he won with the club.

“It will be special,” he said on his ‘Thibaut Talks’ podcast. “Last year we lost in the semis and hopefully this year there will be a victory.

“This year it will be different because it will be with the public. It will be special and although there may be some whistles, I hope that people remember the beautiful moments.

“We won two leagues, one FA Cup… For me, Chelsea is a special team that helped me to be the goalkeeper that I am now.

“They bought me when I was 18 years old and gave me the opportunity to be at Atletico, to play in the Premier League and win it.

“It’s an important team and I have many friends there. It’s always a pleasure to face them again.”

Should they go through, Chelsea will become the first English team to eliminate Madrid from the Champions League on multiple occasions.

Los Blancos have faced Chelsea more times without ever winning than they have against any other side in European competition (five), drawing twice and losing three times.

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