Courtois continues to cast a long shadow at Atletico, admits Moya

The shot-stopper is aware that the 22-year-old, who is set to return to Chelsea, will prove a tough act to follow, but is excited by the chance to work with Diego Simeone

By Adrian Boullosa and Ander Bilbao

Miguel Angel Moya
freely admits that replacing Thibaut Courtois at Atletico Madrid represents the biggest challenge of his career, conceding that the Belgian will continue to cast a long shadow at the Vicente Calderon until someone proves himself a worthy successor.

Courtois has established himself as one of the world's best goalkeepers after a hugely successful three-year loan stay in the Spanish capital but he is expected to return to parent club Chelsea this summer.

Having signed for La Liga champions Atletico in early June, former Getafe man Moya is the man charged with the responsibility of filling the void, but he admits that Courtois will not be an easy act to follow.

“Courtois’s shadow will be long until the goalkeeper who replaces him can also show that he can do well," he told Goal.

“In football, no matter how well you do, the memory is short. Now, I am here and if I am lucky enough to do well, people will forget.

“This is the challenge and I think it has come at a good moment of maturity for me.

“I was recruited for Atletico without knowing if Courtois would stay or go. But when the offer came, I had to say yes.

“This, for me, is a prize ... or a reward, depending on how you look at it. I will try to prove myself, try to train well and win the confidence of the coach. If I do not, it’s because another [goalkeeper] is better than me."

Moya also revealed that the opportunity to work under Diego Simeone had played a major part in his decision.

“I do not know him as I never worked with him, but I have read his book," he explained.

“I am new and I have come from a lower team, so I’m going to try and follow the path. He is my new boss and has shown so much.

"If 'El Cholo' tells a player to jump off a bridge, he will do it, because he is the leader of this team.”