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Saturday 21 July 2018

Courtois will reopen Chelsea talks but says his 'heart lies in Madrid'

Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, pictured in action against Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu last Monday
Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, pictured in action against Watford’s Gerard Deulofeu last Monday

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will reopen contract talks this month - despite admitting that his "heart lies in Madrid".

The 25-year-old, whose current Stamford Bridge deal ends next summer, has reportedly emerged as a target for European champions Real Madrid.

And Courtois admits the lure of a return to the Spanish capital - he spent three years at Real's city rivals Atletico - would be tough to resist as his children still live there.

Speaking to Belgian publication Sport/Foot Magazine, Courtois said: "We (Chelsea) agreed to meet again in February because the club had more urgent issues to deal with in January.

"I am under contract until 2019. Normally, there is no problem, I will (extend). I am happy here and I see a direction that still wants to win a lot of titles.

"My personal situation is related to the city of Madrid. My two children live there with their mum. I have my daughter every day on FaceTime.

"Whenever I have the opportunity, I try to make a return trip to Spain. As a situation, it is not always easy. Yes, my heart is in Madrid.

"I do not know (if there is interest from Real). If they want me, they have to contact Chelsea. We'll see. But they never did it.

"What is certain is that I will one day return to Madrid. I love Spain, I loved the city, I spent three wonderful years there.

"If Real is really interested, my personal situation could affect (it), yes. The family aspect, it is priceless.

"But I repeat to you that, for the moment, I'm busy talking to Chelsea to extend."  Courtois and his Chelsea team-mates are currently on a three-day break from training and will return on Friday to prepare for the home match against West Brom on February 12.

Manager Antonio Conte found his position in the spotlight following two straight Premier League defeats, including Monday's 4-1 loss at Watford.

However, Press Association Sport understands there have been no board meetings to discuss the Italian's future and the club are not in talks with any potential replacements.

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