'Courtois could have stayed at Chelsea' - Agent admits Madrid move purely down to family

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Christophe Henrotay claims the Belgian goalkeeper would have been happy to remain at Stamford Bridge had his children been alongside him in London

Thibaut Courtois would not have left Chelsea for Real Madrid if his children lived in London, claims the goalkeeper’s agent Christophe Henrotay.

The Belgium international completed a €35 million (£31m/$40m) switch to the Santiago Bernabeu late in the Premier League transfer window, forcing those at Stamford Bridge to piece together a record-breaking €80m (£72m/$91m) deal for Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Courtois, who was entering the final year of his contract, had made no secret of his desire to be reunited with his young family in Spain as speculation surrounding his future mounted.

He eventually got his wish, but his representative claims the 26-year-old did not push for a switch because he was desperate to get out of Chelsea.

Henrotay told Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 Live: “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 children.

“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.”

Thibaut Courtois Real Madrid embed

Courtois previously spent three seasons in Madrid on loan at Atletico, with a return to the Spanish capital proving to be an emotional move for all concerned.

Henrotay added: “It’s a move he wanted because of his family and he had the opportunity to go back to Madrid – a city he loves and to such a big club in Real Madrid.

“When we arrived in Madrid to make the signing, I had his parents, his brother, his sister, his child, the mother of the child, everyone is there and I said to him that I am delighted to make a great deal for him in going to Real Madrid but also it’s a family coming together.

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“I could see tears in their eyes and it delighted me to be able to do something not only for a player, for a client, but for a family, which is great.

“I fully understand the fans of Chelsea and no one has reason to blame that feeling.

“Thibaut is such a great goalkeeper and he did his best at Chelsea to bring titles and trophies so it is not a great feeling to lose such a player.”

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