Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois not scared of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal threat
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says he is not afraid of his impending battle against Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic. PSG travel to Stamford Bridge on the 12th of March for the second leg of the Champions League round-of-16 tie.
The first leg of the tie played out at the Parc des Princes last month ended in a 1-1 draw but only after Courtois produced a number of fine saves, including a crucial late one from Ibrahimovic.
The two teams met in the quarterfinals of the tournament last season and PSG were unlucky to crash out by virtue of a late goal by Demba Ba which took Jose Mourinho’s side to the semi-finals on away goals. Ibrahimovic missed last year’s tie with an injury but will be desperate to score the goals that will take his team through this time on.
Courtois was on loan at Atletico Madrid last season but is fully aware of the danger posed by the French champions. The 22-year-old Belgian keeper is, however, confident in his ability to deny the Swede.
Courtois said, “No, I'm not afraid. I played against him three weeks ago, and I played well. I hope to stop him again on Wednesday. I know he's a great striker, and that it's always difficult to stop him, but we have to do that if we want to go through.
“We're confident, but we expect a very difficult game. Paris are going to come here to score goals. It'll be a very complicated game. We're ready, and we hope to win in front of our fans. We'll have to see the tactics the coach puts in place. What is certain is that we cannot sit back and wait.
“We have to defend well, but we mustn't go for the 0-0 because if we concede a goal, Paris will qualify by winning 1-0. We have to play to our strengths by trying to score goals and win the game.
Courtois thinks Chelsea are the favourites
“As we're playing at home and we drew 1-1 in the first leg, we're slight favourites. But with the team that Paris has, they also have a lot of hope. It's going to be a very close match. The small details will decide who goes through.
“They're a team that can reach the final. To play them in the last 16 is very early in the competition. But that's the way it is. It's going to be a hotly contested game. Paris are a strong team. We're going to have to be very careful because we mustn't lose.
“If you play for a team like Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich or PSG, the aim is always to win the Champions League. After that, it depends on the circumstances, the opponents you are drawn against. The aim is to win, but you have to see if it's possible.
“We're one of the teams that could win, but there are three or four others like us.”