Diego: Courtois will shine against Chelsea

The 29-year-old has praised the goalkeeper for his professionalism, while he has also expressed his delight at moving to the Spanish outfit on a permanent deal

Atletico Madrid’s Diego has backed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to shine when his side meet Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

The match will see the on-loan Belgium international come up against his parent club after Uefa ruled a loan agreement requiring los Colchoneros to pay Chelsea €3m to field the 21-year-old was void.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone yesterday backed Courtois to maintain his focus ahead of the game and Ribas is confident he has the temperament to do just that.

“This situation is not a problem for us,” Diego told El Mundo. “Courtois is very calm, as always. He is ready to play and is going to do great.

“Courtois is an exemplary professional, despite his youth, and he is sure to be the same as always in Tuesday’s game.”

The midfielder also insisted that he is enjoying his time at Atletico and is delighted to have joined the Spanish side on a permanent deal after his loan spell at the club.

“It was a very good decision to join Atletico permanently,” Diego added. “At the moment we are creating something special and, for all of the players, it is a pleasure to participate in this.

“This team has grown a lot. This team is where it is because of the great job that the coach has done and you have to respect this.

“[Diego] Simeone is the best coach. When the job is done right, the team grow together. The team and coach are stronger now than ever before.”

The midfielder added that he is happy to play in any position as long as he is helping the team.

“I'm comfortable playing any position because the team is doing well,” he continued. “The system works perfectly.

“Our tactics change every game depending on how opponents defend. But I'm always comfortable.

“The love that I have for this club is very clear, and always will be.”