Thibaut Courtois considers Eden Hazard to be “irreplaceable” at Chelsea, while claiming that he himself is “close” to penning a new contract.
The Blues continue to see star turns on their books heavily linked with big-money moves to La Liga giants Real Madrid.
Hazard has been courted by the Spanish outfit for some time, with his father revealing that fresh terms in England have been shunned as they wait on an offer from Santiago Bernabeu.
Chelsea, though, have no desire to sell and Courtois admits losing the talented forward would be like Barcelona or Real agreeing to part with Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.
He told the Evening Standard after seeing Hazard net from the penalty spot in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal: “Losing a player like Eden would be bad for us, the club.
“Eden is irreplaceable. With the money he will raise, you can buy five players but none of them will be like Eden. It would be like Barcelona losing Lionel Messi or Real Madrid losing Cristiano Ronaldo.
“If you excel, there will always be teams interested in signing the biggest players. But that’s why if Chelsea have ambition to be the best club in the world, these kind of players have to stay.”
While Hazard’s future continues to dominate the headlines, Courtois has also been linked with an imminent move to Madrid.
He is yet to extend a deal with Chelsea which is set to expire in 2019 - with Goal revealing that the Blues are prepared to make him the best-paid goalkeeper in world football - but the Belgium international believes both he and fellow countryman Hazard will remain in west London for some time yet.
Courtois added when pressed for an update on contract talks: “It has just turned the new year, so we will wait a few weeks and then sit around the table. I’m happy at Chelsea and a deal is close.
“Has it been a distraction? Not for me. I’m just calm and relaxed because I’m tied to Chelsea. Despite the rumours and everything, I am focused on Chelsea and I’m happy here.
“Do Eden and I encourage each other to sign? Yes. He will say ‘if you sign, I will sign’ and I say the same to him!
“I think we are both happy at Chelsea, we both have a good part to play. We have been champions twice in the four seasons I have been here and can have our peak years together at Chelsea.”