​Thibaut Courtois’ Agent Reveals Personal Reasons Behind Goalkeeper’s Forced Switch to Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois manufactured an exit from ​Chelsea this summer due to the stress caused by living away from his children, according to the player’s agent. 

The 26-year-old put pen to paper on a six-year contract with ​Real Madrid earlier in the week; bringing an end to the Belgian’s seven-year spell at Stamford Bridge after joining the Blues from Genk in 2011. 

However, despite some claiming that the stopper forced his move away from west London for the “wrong reasons”, the custodian’s agent, Christophe Henrotay, insisted to ​BBC Sport that it only transpired due to family circumstances. 

“There has been a misunderstanding that he wanted to get a move for the wrong reasons, but he was pushing to go out of Chelsea because of his child,” said Henrotay.

Real Madrid Unveil New Signing Thibaut Courtois

“If the family were in London it would have been totally different. He would have stayed, there is no reason to leave a club like Chelsea, he could have won trophies.

“Unfortunately his kids are living with the mother in Madrid.

“He had the contract and it depended on Chelsea, but running close to the end of his contract, Chelsea had an interest to find a deal with Madrid, which they did.

“It is personal reasons so we have to respect this. Chelsea understood the situation and really helped to get the deal.

“They did a really quick and easy deal together, understanding the humanity of the situation. It is not doing something against their fans, it is about getting the best of a situation that is not ideal.”

Some Chelsea fans were left disappointed with Courtois’ decision to leave the club, despite replacement Kepa Arrizabalaga joining for a world-record fee and the 26-year-old having just 12 months remaining on his deal with the Blues. 

However, Henrotay claimed there were no hard feelings between his client and the Stamford Bridge hierarchy, stating the goalkeeper had apologised for not returning to training following the World Cup.

“This was the situation, he apologised and finally everybody is happy.” 

It seems Courtois’ departure has had a minimal effect on the dressing room so far, with new man Kepa recording his first ​Premier League minutes on Saturday as Chelsea began their campaign with a ​3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town


Real Madrid Eye Spurs Ace Eriksen as Heir to Luka Modrić as Inter Continue to Chase Midfield Maestro

​​Real Madrid are believed to be eyeing up a move for ​Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen, with the Danish dynamo lined up as a replacement for Luka Modrić, should he move to ​Inter this summer.

According to the Sun, ​Serie A sleeping giants Inter are still relentlessly pursuing the Croatian international, and are intent on signing him before transfer windows across the rest of Europe close. Eriksen has just two years left on his deal at Spurs, and the club are thought to be desperately trying to convince their star to extend his contract.

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

The report gives no indication of their source of information, which suggests that it could be a mere rumour rather than being based on solid evidence. It certainly seems unusual that Spurs would sell Eriksen at this stage, with the Premier League transfer window closed, and no opportunity to find a suitable replacement until January.

However, Spurs do have a history of selling their best players to Real Madrid, with both Modrić and Bale making the move from north London to the Bernabéu in recent years. Having failed to sign Eden Hazard from ​Chelsea, the pressure will be on Los Blancos to sign a marquee player before the window closes, but the chances of signing Eriksen seem unlikely at present.

While Modrić is believed to be keen on a move to Inter, Real Madrid are unlikely to let their midfield maestro leave this summer. The 32-year-old was named the best player at the 2018 World Cup, as his efforts saw Croatia reach the final against the odds in a spirited campaign. Modrić is a key figure at the Bernabéu, and is likely to be out of Inter’s price range.

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Further reports have claimed that Real Madrid will look to put the Modrić rumours to bed within the next couple of weeks, by ​offering the former Spurs man a massive €10m per year deal – equalling that of club captain Sergio Ramos. Modrić has been with Los Blancos for six seasons, winning one La Liga title and four Champions League trophies during his impressive spell.


Brazil Legend Ronaldo in Intensive Care in Ibiza After Being Diagnosed With Pneumonia

​Legendary Brazilian footballer Ronaldo has been taken into intensive care after coming down with pneumonia while on holiday in Ibiza.

Ronaldo, who retired in 2011, and is widely renowned as one of the greatest football players of all time, was diagnosed with the illness on Friday night, and according to the Mirror, was rushed to the Can Misses hospital on Friday evening.

The hospital says he remains in intensive care, but is making ‘good progress’. No more information is available currently for ‘data protection reasons’.

He was believed to be visiting the house he owns on the island a few days ago for a summer break, and the news comes as a shock to many, as his playing career made a significant impact on so many football fans.

His 18-year career spanned seven different clubs, winning the FIFA World Player of the Year three times and the Ballon d’Or twice, as well as two league titles with Real Madrid, two World Cups with Brazil, and a UEFA Cup with Inter, among countless other accolades.

He featured for Cruzeiro, PSV, ​Barcelona, ​Real Madrid, and both Milan clubs before returning to Brazil and retiring at Corinthians in 2011, scoring 247 goals in 343 games over the piece, and leaving a remarkable, unparalleled legacy behind.

He remains the second highest scorer in Brazil’s history, with his 62 goals in 98 games placing him behind only Pele at international level.


Cristiano Ronaldo Claims Making Juventus Move Was an ‘Easy Decision’ After 9-Year Madrid Spell

​Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted that the choice to move to Juventus from Real Madrid was an “easy decision” for him.

Ronaldo ended his nine-year stay in Madrid this summer after a historically dominant period at the club. The forward scored over 300 times and won four Ballons d’Or during his time in the Spanish capital but ultimately his relationship with Real president Florentino Perez would spell the end for the Portuguese at the club.


Real’s loss was Juve’s gain however, and the reigning Serie A champions were more than happy to fork out €100m for one of the world’s best.

Speaking to JuventusTV, as quoted by Goal, Ronaldo outlined why he chose Juve above anybody else.

“Great club, first of all it is a great club. Since I was a kid, I looked at this team and said I hope to play there one day. Now I will play for a fantastic club, one of the biggest clubs in the world. I’m happy.”

Although Ronaldo stated there was no specific moment that made his choice for him, he did reiterate his appreciation for Juve’s fans after they applauded his overhead kick in Turin last season.


He added: “Unbelievable. I remember every day, that never happened to me before. In the Champions League against Juve, a quarter-final, you score a goal and see everyone in the stadium applaud you. It was an unbelievable feeling.”

Ronaldo and Juve appear to be a match made in heaven, but they’ll need European dominance if his spell in Italy is to be deemed a success.


Real Madrid ‘Agree Terms’ With Bayern Munich Star as Julen Lopetegui Looks for Kovacic Upgrade

​Real Madrid ​have reached an agreement with ​Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcántara as a replacement for Mateo Kovavic, who joined Chelsea on loan this week, with only a final fee needing to be agreed with the German outfit. 

Thiago has been widely expected to leave the Allianz Arena this summer as he searches for a new challenge after five seasons with the Bavarian giants, and Real’s new boss Julen Lopetegui is said to rate the 27-year-old highly following their time together for the Spanish national team. 

According to Spanish radio station ​Onda Cero, the Spanish giants have agreed personal terms with the midfielder and Bayern are said to be willing to negotiate his exit for a fee which is expected to be between £36m and £45m – due him to having three years remaining on his contract.

The two clubs are understood to be on good terms over transfers, despite Real’s interest in recalling James Rodriguez and acquiring Robert Lewandowski this summer.

Bayern’s new boss Niko Kovac views Thiago as a player who can be moved on, with a return to his homeland on the cards. 

The 27-year-old spent his early career with Real’s fierce rivals Barcelona and despite being ​linked with a return to his former stomping ground, a move to the Bernabeu appears more likely after the Blaugrana recently signed his Bayern teammate Arturo Vidal. 

Bayern Muenchen v Manchester United - Friendly Match

It remains to be seen whether Thiago would in fact join a rival club, but his versatility makes him an attractive proposition for Lopetegui as he looks to stamp his mark on the reigning European Cup holders after replacing Zinedine Zidane over the summer. 

The pair are well versed with each others style having risen through Spain’s national ranks together from the Under-21 European triumph in 2013 all the way to the senior level. 


Luka Modric Set to Snub Inter in Favour of Massive New Real Madrid Contract to Match Captain Ramos

Luka Modric will remain at Real Madrid this summer, with Spanish publication Marca reporting that the midfielder has agreed to sign a new deal with Los Blancos after being offered better terms.

According to the Spanish newspaper, Madrid have moved to reward the player for his remarkable showing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in which he led the Vatreni to the final to take home the tournament’s Golden Ball award.


It is understood that Modric will be placed on the same pay scale as captain Sergio Ramos and will make around €10m per year, an improvement on his current €8m.

Italian Serie A side Inter have shown a great deal of interest in signing the 33-year-old midfielder this summer, with the player’s wife and agent reportedly offering her husband to the Nerazzurri.

Modric is also believed to have expressed his intent to join the side and follow former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to Italy.

Madrid, however, were desperate not to lose two of their star players in the same window and had previously stated that any suitors looking to take the Croatian off of their books would have to cough up €750m in order to activate his release clause.

They planned a Friday meeting with the playmaker and, as reports in Spain would have it, all parties have emerged from the sit-down happy.

Inter were quite hopeful over the possibility of landing Modric in what would have been a sensational switch but they’re set to be sorely disappointed, given the reported developments over in Spain.


“The company has shown to work consistently, they are trying to put everything into place,” manager Luciano Spalletti was quoted as saying last week. “It is clear that a player like Modric would be important for anyone, let alone for us…I keep dreaming with the fans.”


Maurizio Sarri Makes Strong Statement on Eden Hazard Contract and Reveals Early Captaincy Choice

New ​Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has said that he’s very happy with the squad under his command at the moment.

The Italian, who replaced compatriot Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge this summer, will oversee his first Premier League match as Blues manager in an away fixture against Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon and claimed he has a ‘complete’ squad at his disposal.


Sarri had plenty to touch on, with two new signings having come in this week. The Blues completed deals for Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mateo Kovacic on Friday, the latter on a season-long loan deal. Thibaut Courtois has also officially joined Real Madrid, before even meeting with the club’s new boss.

“The Courtois situation was clear. He wanted to go to Madrid. We lost maybe one of the best goalkeepers in the world now, but we bought a young goalkeeper, one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe, so I am really happy,” he told reporters, via chelseafc.com.

“Kepa is very young, he is 23. I hope he can improve very fast.


“I am very happy to get Kovacic. He has the characteristics for us. He is a very technical player. He is able to play between the lines of the opponent. For us that could be very important.

Now I think the squad is complete.”

“I don’t know,” he replied after being asked if Kepa will make his debut this weekend. “He is in the players’ list for tomorrow, but I have to decide.”

The manager was also quizzed over the situation with Eden Hazard, who has been heavily linked with a move to Real as well. 

“Hazard is with us, definitely. It’s not a problem. I have spoken with him three or four times about everything, and he has never said anything about the market, so I think he is very happy to stay here,” he declared.

“I don’t want to discuss contracts. It’s not my job. My job is on the pitch, my job is to improve the players, my job is to try to win matches, and not sign new contracts, but I have seen a player very happy to stay here, so it will be no problem, the new contract.”

As for who his captain will be for the season, Sarri said he still does not know. But Cesar Azpilicueta will be wearing the armband against Huddersfield on Saturday.


“Tomorrow I think Cesar Azpilicueta, but it’s not the final decision,” Sarri explained. “I want to know well the players, I want to know well the man, and then when my idea will be clear, I will make a final decision.”


French Starlet Theo Hernandez Joins Real Sociedad on Season-Long Loan From Real Madrid

​Real Sociedad have agreed a season-long loan deal for ​Real Madrid defender Theo Hernandez, ​the San Sebastian club has confirmed.

The player has agreed terms and passed a medical. He will be officially unveiled in the coming days and will then join up with the Sociedad squad in Germany.

Hernandez made 13 appearances in La Liga for Real Madrid last season after joining the club from rivals Atletico Madrid last summer.

He acted as backup to Marcelo but the Brazilian’s consistency means that Hernandez is unlikely to overtake him in the pecking order any time soon, so he has gone on loan to get more minutes behind him.

In his absence, it is thought that academy player Sergio Reguilon will deputise for Marcelo in case of injury or suspension.

Real Madrid v Leganes - La Liga

Hernandez has been capped for France at youth level and was brought to the Santiago Bernabeu by his countryman Zinedine Zidane last summer.

He had spent the previous season on loan at Alaves, where he made 32 league appearances and scored the first goal of his senior career against Athletic Bilbao.

He helped Alaves to reach their first ever Copa del Rey final in 2017, and scored a free kick in the final against Barcelona. It turned out to be in vain as Barca won 3-1.


Massimiliano Allegri Reveals He Turned Down Real Madrid Offer Out of Respect for Juventus

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri says he turned down an offer to become Real Madrid head coach because of the respect he has for his club.

The Champions League holders were rocked by Zinedine Zidane’s decision to step down at the end of last season and Allegri emerged as one of their biggest targets in the wake of the Frenchman’s departure.

Juventus v FC Bayern Munich - International Champions Cup 2018

Although he seemed ready to quit the club at one point, Allegri retained his position at the helm of Italy’s most successful club in recent years and declined the opportunity to manage a side considered the biggest and best in the world.

Los Blancos have since hired Julen Lopetegui, but the Juventus boss, who admits he was honoured to be considered by the Spanish side, revealed his commitment and respect for his current club prompted him to spurn Madrid’s offer.

“I said ‘no’ to Real Madrid because I made a commitment with the president,” Allegri said to Stile Mese, via Football Italia.

“Therefore, my maximum respect for Juventus and given word were why I rejected the call of Real Madrid, the biggest club in the world and the dream for every coach.

“I’d be a hypocrite if I said I wasn’t honoured by their consideration, but I’m absolutely convinced that I made the right decision.

“Am I a ‘bandiera’ like Buffon or Del Piero? I absolutely don’t want to be equated with them because they’re players who wrote Juventus’ history, whereas I’ve only been here for four years.”

Real Madrid v Juventus - International Champions Cup 2018

Rather ironically, Allegri is coaching Cristiano Ronaldo anyway, with the Portuguese superstar trading Madrid for Juventus this summer.


No Tears: Why Chelsea Fans Will Not Miss Thibaut Courtois After Real Madrid Transfer

​The summer’s worst kept secret is finally out. ​Chelsea have authorised star Thibaut Courtois’ move to ​Real Madrid and signed Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga as his alternative. Yet, most Chelsea fans are happy to see the back of the Belgian. 

Earlier this summer, fans were eager for Courtois to stay. After all, he is a fantastic goalkeeper and there are not too many obvious replacements. 

However, with the news that Courtois refused to return to training and instead tried to force his move to Madrid, fans appeared to give up trying to accept the Belgian at the club.

He faced an uphill battle to win over Chelsea fans as soon as he arrived at the club. Whilst on loan at Atletico Madrid, he played a role in eliminating Chelsea from the Champions League. He then returned to the club and forced the Blues to choose between him and legendary shot stopper Petr Cech. 

Cech was certainly past his best, but had earned the undying respect from the club, so much so that he was even permitted to join their cross-town rivals at Arsenal. That was certainly hard to take.

The club showed their loyalty to Courtois by installing him into the first team at Cech’s expense. The next challenging step was Courtois admitting he did not want to work with goalkeeping coach Christophe Lollichon. Lollichon was the man who developed Cech into the phenomenon that he was, and had been Chelsea’s coach for nine years.

Real Madrid Unveil New Signing Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea showed their loyalty once again to the Belgian by removing Lollichon from his position. Two devoted servants to Chelsea had now been released to accommodate Courtois. 

There is no denying that Courtois is a fantastic goalkeeper. However, he is constantly at risk of a basic mistake. Whether he is not fast enough to get down and save a low shot, or quick enough to run off his line to prevent an opportunity, it seems as though this could happen to Courtois at any given moment.

These mistakes cost Chelsea three consecutive Champions League knockout ties. In 2015 against PSG, he left his line at a corner, only to be caught out of position by a looping header from Thiago Silva.

Real Madrid Unveil New Signing Thibaut Courtois

Fast-forward to the PSG clash of 2016, and Courtois was too slow to leave his line and eventually saw the ball slotted between his legs by Edinson Cavani. The same mistakes cost Chelsea during their next involvement in the tournament in 2018, as Lionel Messi managed to strike the ball straight through Courtois on two separate occasions.

He was frequently disappointing on the pitch, and the same can be said for his antics away from the pitch. Courtois has constantly flirted with the city of Madrid, whether it be Real or Atletico. Despite this, fans were still determined to love Courtois.

The club and the fans remained committed to Courtois. He was paid a huge wage, but constantly underwhelmed and suggested he wanted to leave. 

Real Madrid Unveil New Signing Thibaut Courtois

However, he refused to return to Chelsea and admit to new manager Maurizio Sarri that he wanted to leave. He pulled the same stunt during his time in Belgium, refusing to return to Genk as he forced the club to allow him to move to Chelsea. 

He cites “personal reasons” for wanting to return to Madrid, and fans can accept that. Wanting to be closer to your children is hardly a shocking desire.

However, what fans cannot accept is his blatant disregard for the club who remained permanently committed to the faltering giant, when the feeling hardly ever seemed mutual. This is amplified as Eden Hazard, who seemed keen on making the same move as Courtois, has handled himself with complete class and dignity.

No player is bigger than their club. Goodbye Thibaut Courtois, you will not be missed.