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Thibaut Courtois 'Sad' After Chelsea Fans' Anger at Real Madrid Move

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 01:  Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid reacts after during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and CD Leganes at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 1, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois is saddened by Chelsea fans' reactions following his summer move to Real Madrid, adding that he made his decision to leave Stamford Bridge in March.

The Belgium No. 1 joined Los Blancos in a £35 million deal after failing to report back for Chelsea training after the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Nevertheless, Courtois said he still loves Chelsea, per Sky Sports' Michael Kelleher:

"It makes me feel sad and obviously they don't know all the truth.

"I think in March the decision was already made and I thought the club would accept it.

"Then because the transfer was closed I did not show up because I thought it better not to disturb the team and the squad.

"If I did go there maybe, I didn't want to be toxic, so obviously it is a pity because I love Chelsea."

If Courtois' aim were to make amends with Chelsea's fanbase, it seems unlikely that revealing he decided on the transfer five months prior to its completion in August will have the desired effect.

As a result of the last-gasp nature of his exit, the Blues triggered the €80 million (£71.6 million) buyout clause of Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in order to land a replacement before the transfer window shut.

There was also outcry from Blues fans when Courtois contrasted the quality in training between that of his new club and former employers, per the Mirror's Mark Jones (h/t Bleacher Report's Alex McGovern):

Alex McGovern @AlexMcGovern11

Courtois on Chelsea: https://t.co/3305RS2fAc https://t.co/DAP1qIbe2O

But the goalkeeper sought to clarify those comments, saying he didn't mean to disrespect Chelsea, per Kelleher: "Obviously, you get some things in the media like I said there was not enough quality at Chelsea. I never meant that. I just said maybe in training it goes a little bit faster, but that is also the quality of Real Madrid—that is not saying Chelsea does not have quality."

It's unsurprising the level in training increases at the Santiago Bernabeu considering Real have won the UEFA Champions League the past three seasons running, though Courtois didn't have to compare the two.

Chelsea will be hoping Kepa, 23, can reach the same heights and even eclipse the accomplishments of his predecessor, who won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup during his time at the club.

Journalist Rik Sharma has high expectations for the Spain international:

Rik Sharma @riksharma_

80 million euros is a lot of money for a goalkeeper who has paid 53 Liga games, but Kepa has shown great maturity and made extremely few mistakes

Courtois spent three seasons on loan at Atletico Madrid early in his Chelsea tenure, and part of his reason for chasing the transfer to Real was that he wanted to rejoin his family in the Spanish capital.

The 26-year-old may still be on good terms with all Chelsea fans had he attempted to seal his Madrid move earlier in the summer and given the Londoners a better chance of finding an adequate successor for a less exorbitant fee.

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