Using a survey system across is global networks, ESPN has ranked Chelsea FC loanee Thibaut Courtois the 36th best player in the World Cup. ESPN says that it ranked the Top 50 players “based on an extensive survey of ESPN writers, editors and TV analysts across all regions (ESPN FC, ESPN Argentina, ESPN Brazil, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Mexico)” and that it will reveal five every day until the World Cup begins.
Thibaut Courtois has not yet played for Chelsea and has instead his time on loan with Atletico Madrid since signing for the Blues in the summer of 2011. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and Chelsea must make the tough decision of choosing between Courtois and the incumbent Petr Cech. He has already won so much with Atletico Madrid and this ranking is further proof that he is one of the best at his position.
Here is what ESPN had to say about Thibaut Courtois:
No. 36 Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea (Atletico Madrid) / Belgium
Why he’s ranked: Courtois has been attached to Chelsea since the summer of 2011, but has yet to play a first team game for the west London club as he has developed his stellar reputation during successful loan spells with Atletico Madrid. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has hailed Courtois as ‘the best young keeper in the world’ and in terms of pure shot-stopping ability, it is hard to argue with that assessment.
Key stat: Saved 87 percent of shots faced, the best percentage among UEFA goalkeepers to play more than five games during the final stage of qualifying.
What the experts say: “Great goalkeepers are worth points. They turn defeats into draws and draws into victories. And they do it on their own: saves are perhaps the only truly individual part of the game. His huge spider-like frame coupled with outstanding reflexes and agility helps him cover the entire goalmouth. The fact that he just turned 22 and affects an iceberg-like coolness is uncanny as well. The kid is mature beyond his years and thoroughly unfazed. Just what a manager craves.” – Gabriele Marcotti
To give you an idea of how highly Thibaut Courtois is regarded by the experts, he is ranked ahead of World Cup winners and previous holders of the consensus “best keeper in the world” title Gianluigi Buffon and Iker Casillas. What Courtois lacks in experience he makes up for with pure talent and calm in the face of pressure. The young keeper is one of the stars of the darkhose Belgium team and will look to prove to the world just how good he really is in Brazil.
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