Thibaut Coutois has disclosed details the of tense discussions which allowed the goalkeeper to move from Chelsea to Real Madrid in the summer of 2018.
The 26-year-old made 154 appearances for Chelsea between 2014 and 2018, winning two Premier League titles, one League Cup and one FA Cup before making a controversial move to the Bernabeu last August.
In a candid interview with HLN the Belgian explains that he had difficulty negotiating his departure with Blues director Marina Granovskaia.
He said: ‘That Marina is hard at negotiation is normal. The people in football who are talking about contracts, salaries, transfers, etc. that get players and dispose of them, they have the most difficult job.
‘Only, in March Marina and I had a meeting in which I indicated that I wanted to leave. Living in London and the schedule of the Premier League made it impossible for me to regularly see my children, who lived in Madrid.
‘”Are you going to find something?” Marina asked me. ‘Rest assured,’ was my answer. “All right, then we’ll let you go and we’ll find a replacement.”‘
Courtois continued: ‘What turned out? After the World Cup, a departure was suddenly not that obvious anymore. The possible replacements were too expensive. Sorry, that was not the appointment. Then you have to work hard for a moment.’
The FIFA’s Best Goalkeeper Award winner also shared his opinion of the criticism directed towards him after his return to Spain.