Thibaut Courtois is enjoying what he hopes will be a “special” return to Stamford Bridge as Real Madrid face Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.
Madrid recovered from a two-goal aggregate victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the 16th round, while the Blues beat Ligue 1 champions Lille 4-1.
After that the teams were grouped together in the last eight of last year’s semi-final replay, where Chelsea won 3-1 over two legs on their way to lifting the trophy.
Courtois played in both games, despite a home goal from Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano and an outer leg behind closed doors in London due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Chelsea will play in front of a packed house where they will visit Madrid next Wednesday, however, after amendments to the sanctions barring them from selling tickets.
The Blues fans were not happy with Courtois’ departure, but the goalkeeper focused on two Premier League titles and two home trophies with the team.
“It will be special,” he said in his podcast ‘Thibaut Talks’. “Last year we lost in the semi-finals and we hope this year we will win.
“This year will be different because it will be a community event and it will be special and although there may be whistles but I hope people will remember these wonderful times.
“We have won two leagues, one FA Cup … For me, Chelsea is a special team that helped me become the goalkeeper I am now.
“They bought me when I was 18 and gave me a chance to be at Atletico, play in the Premier League and win it.
“It’s an important team and I have a lot of friends there. It’s always a pleasure to meet them again.”
Should they pass, Chelsea will be the first English team to beat Madrid in the Champions League on multiple occasions.
Los Blancos have faced Chelsea more times than any other team in the European Championship (five), with two draws and three defeats.