Thibaut Courtois named Belgian Sportsman of the Year
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois becomes first footballer to be named as Belgian Sportsman of the Year. This award has existed since 1967 and winners in previous years mostly were the best athletes in individual sports as cycling, triathlon, motocross, swimming and athletics. The young goalkeeper is recorded as a first footballer on this list who has a reward with the Belgium national football team too, as a best team for the second consecutive years. Also nominated for this award was Courtois' teammate from Chelsea Eden Hazard and former Chelsea player Kevin De Bruyne. Courtois was naturally happy and said about the award:
"It's an honor to be the first footballer to win this award. But you have to have some luck too. If there'd been a cyclist who had won two classical races, I think I wouldn't have won the trophy. But I'm happy, I'm proud. Even more for my family, it's not always easy for them - I'm often away from home, disappointed after a loss or a difficult training session. I want to thank them, and all of my teammates, managers and staff who helped me to achieve this. You never get used to winning prizes, but this season I want to achieve as much as possible with Chelsea. In the first place I want to win the Premier League."
Thibaut Courtois has 22 years and signed a five-year deal with Chelsea in July 2011. In that period Petr Cech was the first goalkeeper choice, so Courtois was sent on loan in Atletico Madrid were he spent three seasons. He established as first goalkeeper and won the title in La Liga the last season and Copa del Rey in the season 2012/13. He was also winner in UEFA Europa League in the season 2011/12, winner in UEFA Super Cup in 2012/13 and runners up in UEFA Champions League in the season 2013/14. It is interesting fact that he played against his parent club Chelsea in the 2012 UEFA Super Cup final in Monaco, which ended in a 4:1 victory for Atletico Madrid. He also played against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals after UEFA allowed Atletico to select Courtois without making any such additional payment. In the season 2012/13 he set a new record of 820 minutes without conceding a goal at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. Courtois was named as man of the match in Copa del Rey Final in 2013 when Atletico won 2:1 and beat Real Madrid for the first time in 14 years.
Courtois is the first goalkeeper in Belgian national team and the youngest ever goalkeeper that play for the national team. He has 25 appearance for Belgium and played on the last World Cup in Brazil. The progression to the quarter-finals is mostly thanks to his great goal keeping skills.
Courtois obviously proved his talent and skills on the goal in the last three years, so Jose Mourinho decide to give him the first goalkeeper position in Chelsea, while Cech dropped to the bench. This is the first season in Chelsea's shirt and he is doing a great job so far. Courtois has conceded only 13 goals in 15 played matches which is the best defensive record in the Premier League. He missed only the last match against Hull City due to a muscular problem.
When Thibaut Courtois signed for the Blues in 2011, he was noticed as Chelsea's future. His time came maybe faster than was expected.