Real Madrid emerged as his most likely destination last summer, but Chelsea are determined to keep the 24-year-old.

Thibaut Nicolas Marc Courtois (Dutch pronunciation: [tibo kurtwa]; French pronunciation: ​[tibo kuʁtwa]; born 11 May 1992) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays for English club Chelsea and the Belgium national team as a goalkeeper. Courtois is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation.[3][4][5][6]

The 24-year-old has struggled behind a fragile Chelsea defence this season which has shipped nine goals in just six games so far, three of which came in last weekend’s drubbing at the hands of Arsenal.

Journalist Rob Bleasley explains the Special One's anger in his new book, 'Jose Mourinho: Up Close and Personal', which is being serialised in the Daily Mail.

In July 2011 Courtois joined Premier League club Chelsea for a reported €9 million, signing a five-year deal.[10][11]

Courtois played every minute during the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, as Belgium qualified for its first major tournament since the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[52] Throughout these qualifiers, he kept six clean sheets in ten matches.

Speaking in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, Courtois said he still feels a strong connection to Spain, where he developed into one of the world's best goalkeepers.

We all know stats can sometimes be misleading, but, according to The Sun, so far this season, Courtois’s save percentage rate is currently just 47% and of the 17 shots on target he’s faced in six games, he’s let in nine goals.

To experience everything that ESPNFC.com has to offer, we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version of your web browser. Click the upgrade button to the right or learn more.

"It is a disgrace that we play Sunday," Mourinho reportedly continued saying. "We play for Chelsea and also for England. It is a disgrace.

And although Chelsea’s defending, particularly in the absence of injured skipper John Terry, hasn’t helped his cause, Courtois would, by his own high standards, be expecting to save more than the 47.1% of shots he has faced.

In February 2014, Courtois caused some stir in the national team, by saying of his rival for starting goalkeeper Simon Mignolet "You have to know how to stay humble and respectful, and he should remember that."[58] Though, in previous interviews, Mignolet had only said that it was his ambition to keep working and try to regain his spot in the national team.[59]

"I have a contract for three years, so I will say 100 per cent [I'm staying at Chelsea]. Rumours affect any club where things are going badly. People think the top players want to leave because they are not in the Champions League."

Over two months ago, even before last season ended, Thibaut Courtois had already stated that he's staying at Chelsea.  And it wasn't even ambigious, as many of Courtois's public quotes tend to be.  It's was entirely unambigious.  '100 per cent' staying at Chelsea.

The Belgium international has been regularly linked with a move back to La Liga -- where he spent three years on loan at Atletico Madrid -- since replacing Petr Cech as No. 1 at Stamford Bridge.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Chelsea are looking to hire Italy goalkeeping coach Gianluca Spinelli to work with Courtois in place of Lollichon, who could follow Petr Cech to Arsenal.

Chelsea have made a promising start under new head coach Antonio Conte and are fifth in the Premier League table after three wins from their first five matches.

That means Asmir Begovic is expected to leave Stamford Bridge in search of more regular first-team football, while reports have linked Chelsea with a move for outgoing Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda as replacement No.2 goalkeeper.

In any case, here's the Daily Mail to tell you that, in fact, Thibaut Courtois will be staying at Chelsea and will remain the first-choice goalkeeper for Antonio Conte.  Surprise!

See behind the scenes of Stamford Bridge with a tour

For the 2013–14 season, Courtois' loan to Atlético was extended by a further 12 months.[27]

Thibaut's sister Valérie is a volleyball player, who plays as a libero for Budowlani Łódź and Belgium.[60] His parents also were volleyball players, and he played the sport in his childhood but decided to focus on football when he was 12.[60]

"I didn't have [a favourite club growing up]. In Spain I watched a lot of Madrid and Barca. In Germany I watched Bayern and Dortmund, in England, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, and in Italy Juventus and Milan.

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him @Liam_Twomey or on Facebook.

Real Madrid are widely reported to be the club most interested in signing Courtois, but last month the Belgian told Spanish radio station Onda Cero that he expected to stay at Chelsea this summer.

Thibaut Courtois has again said he would like to return to Spain one day, adding that he will reassess his future at Chelsea in summer 2018.

By conceding the fewest goals in a substantial amount of matches during the 2013–14 season, Courtois made an important contribution to Atletico's 2013–14 La Liga title, their first since 1996. Thus, he was nominated as the best goalkeeper in the league, alongside Willy Caballero of Málaga CF and Keylor Navas of Levante UD.[30] Atletico, however, lost the UEFA Champions League Final 1–4 against neighbours Real Madrid on 28 May in Lisbon.

Courtois, Thibaut - Chelsea (ENG)

However, since his move to west London, the Belgian No.1 has failed to pull up many trees and rumours have surfaced suggesting a move to Real Madrid could be on the cards in the future.

In the intervening days and weeks, the media have done what media do, and tried very hard to make it seem like Courtois could be leaving.  We were even made to believe that we'd be silly enough to keep a goalkeeper coach against the wishes of our long-term number one goalkeeper, the one shining example of how we can use the loan system to develop players for the first team, the one definite, proven gem among the many youngsters the club hoovers up each and every summer.

When Atlético were drawn to play Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final, it was reported that a clause in Courtois' contract required Atlético to pay Chelsea €3 million per match if they selected him against his parent club, and that Atlético could not afford such a sum. UEFA made it clear that considerations of sporting integrity made such a clause "null, void and unenforceable", and confirmed that Atlético were free to select Courtois without making any such payment.[28][29]

The Belgian was on loan at Atletico Madrid from the Blues at the time and Mourinho had hoped the goalkeeper wouldn't be permitted to play against his team in the semi-finals.

The Liverpool match being referred to is the Premier League match which took place on 27 April 2014, three days prior to the second leg of Chelsea's semi-final with Atletico.

"There wasn't one favourite, but I always wanted to play at those clubs. I don't necessarily have a desire to play there. I'm already at a beautiful club, Chelsea which I always admired, but we will see."

The Belgian won rave reviews during his time in La Liga with Ateltico Madrid, helping the Spaniards win the league title and reach the 2014 Champions League final.

Born in Bree, Courtois began his career with local side Bilzen V.V.,[7] as a left back. Soon after, in 1999, he joined Racing Genk at the age of seven, and it was there that he was converted into a goalkeeper.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is currently the not so proud owner of the worst save percentage in the Premier League.

"Since the first minute, I fell in love with Spain -- the people, the way of life, the food. I have kept up the late dinners, the siesta, and most of the television I watch is Spanish.

On 11 September 2014, Courtois signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea, keeping him at the club until 2019. Upon signing Courtois said: "It’s really nice to have signed this new contract for five years."[35]

Chelsea hope Courtois can enjoy a similarly lengthy spell at Chelsea to Cech -- who stayed for 11 years before joining the Gunners last summer -- but he told Belgian website Sporza: "It's hard to say. I don't think I will end my career [at Chelsea].

The 24-year-old last month reiterated his desire to one day go back to Spain, where he spent three seasons with Atletico Madrid