Thibaut Courtois has joined Real Madrid from Chelsea, bringing an end to one of the summer transfer window’s longest-running sagas.
The Belgium number one goalkeeper, who was outstanding at this summer’s World Cup as his country finished third, has been signed for a fee of £35m as he had less than a year remaining on his contract. Central midfielder Mateo Kovacic has headed in the opposite direction for a season-long loan as part of the deal.
The 26-year-old will battle with Keylor Navas for a starting berth at the European champions, though should acclimatise quickly having spent three years on loan at city rivals Atletico Madrid, with a possible competitive debut coming in the UEFA Super Cup against Atletico on Wednesday.
Courtois also has a young family in the country, which he said was part of his thinking when leaving Chelsea, though he club’s fanbase reacted with disdain after the two-time Premier League winner went AWOL to push through the move.
He has been replaced by Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao on the final day of the English transfer window; the Spaniard’s £71m release clause makes him the most expensive keeper of all-time.