Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois refused to give any assurances when quizzed about his long-term future amid reports he is being targeted by Real Madrid.
The 23-year-old, who has reportedly been valued at £75million by Chelsea amid claims the Spanish giants are keen on him, admitted the Blues’ unexpectedly troubled season had changed him, and was diplomatic when asked if he would leave Stamford Bridge in the summer.
Asked if he will remain with Chelsea beyond the end of the season, Courtois told Belgian broadcaster RTBF: “I do not say yes, I do not say no. I do not know: I still have three years on my contract. We must see what Chelsea want.
“It is true that it (this season) has changed me. Until now I had always won a trophy every season. We hope that next season will be better.”
Courtois, who missed several weeks of the campaign after undergoing knee surgery in September, insisted he has never doubted his ability even in testing times.
“Especially mentally, you have to be strong,” said the former Genk stopper, whose sister and both parents have all played volleyball at a high level. “But with my character, and having grown up in a family of top athletes, I do not have too many problems with it. I never doubt.”
Courtois is away with Belgium preparing for Tuesday’s friendly against Portugal – a fixture which was switched to Leiria having initially been cancelled for security reasons in the wake of Tuesday’s Brussels terror attacks.
And he believes he is training at a higher standard with his international colleagues than when with his club.
“The level of training is higher among Devils,” he said. “There are only world-class players (here), while at Chelsea, there are some players a little less rated and we often train with youngsters as well.”
Courtois on Belgium injuries
Courtois is one of a host of Premier League-based Belgium stars to have suffered injury-plagued seasons, along with the likes of Chelsea team-mate Eden Hazard, Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen and Manchester City pair Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne.
And that is not something that has come as a surprise to the former Atletico Madrid loanee.
“We have matches every three days, no winter break, there are many cup matches,” he said. “The pace is high and the contacts are tough.”