Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says Thibaut Courtois is excited to face his permanent employers Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal.
The 21-year-old is enjoying his third consecutive season on loan at the Vicente Calderon, but it was initially feared the Belgium goalkeeper would have to sit out the last-four tie.
A clause in the player's loan deal required Atleti to pay the Blues 3 million euro in order to field him against the Premier League side, but UEFA ruled that any such agreement was void in the interests of the competition's integrity, allowing the shot stopper to face his parent club.
"Thibaut Courtois' state of mind is the same as that of all his teammates. They are all filled with enthusiasm," Simeone told reporters. "They know the importance of this match not just for them, but for the club. [At this stage] words do not count, they are just used to make headlines."
Comparisons have been made between the two sides, with both clubs boasting the defensive records in the Premier League and La Liga.
Simeone admitted there are similarities between his and Jose Mourinho's respective approaches.
"We are not the same teams but we have similar characteristics," he said. "We are both the least scored against teams in our respective leagues, we both have good defenses and we both play a direct attacking game. We are also both good at set pieces. These characteristics have led to us both fighting for titles. We just focus on our team but we respect our rivals."
Fernando Torres will make a return to Atletico on Tuesday night having spent six years with the club between 2001 and 2007 after coming through the Colchoneros' youth system.
The striker has even been linked with a summer return to his boyhood team, and Simeone expects the 30-year-old to receive a tremendous ovation.
"Fernando [Torres] is a kid who this club loves," he said. "[He] loves this club and the people here; he has good memories from his time here. Before the match starts, in the warm up and at the end, I think Torres will receive the ovation that he deserves. He will always be one of us at Atletico."
- Sports & Recreation
- Thibaut Courtois
- Champions League
- Fernando Torres