Courtois can face Chelsea, but will he do a Morientes for Atletico?

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As soon as Chelsea and Atletico Madrid secured their qualification to the Champions League semi finals, it was somewhat written in the stars that they would be drawn in opposition in the last four.

The saga surrounding whether goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will play is still far from cleared up, despite a UEFA statement revealing they “strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match”.

It is 5/2 that Courtois plays for Atletico in the tie.

Meanwhile, the likes of Fernando Morientes and Nuri Sahin are past examples of loan players being drawn in the Champions League to face their parent clubs and both were on the winning sides.

Morientes scored in both legs as Monaco dumped out Real Madrid on away goals in the quarter finals in 2004, while Sahin was in the match-day squad for both semi-final legs as Borussia Dortmund eliminated Real 12 months ago.

However, with speculation that Atletico want Courtois for a fourth season on loan, they may leave him out against Chelsea in any case to avoid jeopardising this possibility.

Former Chelsea defender Paulo Ferreira has labelled the tie a 50/50 clash and the betting suggests that he is a future football trader in the making, as it’s rated as a coin flip in regards to who will progress to the final.

Both Chelsea and Atletico Madrid have shortened from 5/1 to 4/1 in the tournament winner market and are inseparable at 10/11 to qualify for Lisbon.

At these prices, preference has to be on Atletico, given who they knocked out to reach this stage and the fact the first leg will be played at the Vicente Calderon.

The last four teams to eliminate Barcelona have gone on to win the Champions League and in the last two seasons, it has been the clubs playing the first leg of their respective semi finals at home that have made the final.

Atletico Madrid are 11/10 to win the first leg at home, with Chelsea 12/5 to secure a valuable Spanish success and the draw priced at 11/5.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.