Courtois conundrum for Mourinho: Young keeper to speak with Chelsea manager about future

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Chelsea find themselves between a rock and a hard place regarding their goalkeeping future.

It’s an age-old problem in sports that to this day no one has perfected (save maybe the Indianapolis Colts).

In one hand: an aging, tenured veteran who the fans adore and still has a bit left in the tank at the top level. In the other hand: a budding young star who wants to play and deserves to.

The first is Petr Cech. The second is Thibaut Courtois.

With Courtois already a household name having spent the past three seasons on loan to Atletico Madrid and supplanting Simon Mignolet as the Belgian number one, he’s going to start – somewhere – next season.

Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho, having the legendary Petr Cech in goal makes things difficult.

“My agent is talking with Chelsea. One of the coming weeks I’ll have a chat with Jose Mourinho,” Courtois reportedly said. “I think there will be a decision about my future at the end of March, or in the first weeks of April.”

Mourinho is well aware of the situation, and outwardly he’s confident.  Back in November, he reassured fans saying,

“In this moment we are in a good situation,” he said. “I repeat that because we have the best goalkeeper in the world at a stable age. And Courtois is undoubtedly the best young goalkeeper in the world with two more years of contract. We are in control of the situation.”

source: Getty Images
With 458 Premier League appearances at Chelsea,

But it wouldn’t appear that is the case.  At 31 years old, the Headgear Hero still has a lot left in the tank. Mourinho in November referenced Edwin van der Sar’s long-lasting career.  The legendary Dutch keeper moved from Fulham to Manchester United at an older age than Cech is now (35, to be exact) and proceeded to become an Old Trafford icon.

However, Courtois wants to start now, and that’s understandable.  The 21-year-old has a clean sheet in half his La Liga matches this year, and has helped Atletico Madrid into a title challenge against Barcelona and Real Madrid.

But the real reason he’s swiftly becoming so coveted is because he’s been able to keep his form in the Champions League, something where many budding players falter.

Barcelona originally approached Courtois about becoming their goalkeeper of the future, but when he turned down the advance they opted for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, a move which looks imminent this summer.

With Barca out of the picture, Mourinho can breathe on the situation…for now.  But convincing Courtois to stay put much longer as second fiddle is going to be next to impossible.  So what is a Portugese manager to do?

Will he cement Cech’s legendary status by keeping him at Stamford Bridge for a while longer? Or will he disrespect Chelsea’s all-time great by selecting Courtois as Chelsea’s keeper of the future?

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.