Thibaut Courtois had a successful stint while playing for Chelsea FC between 2014-2018, and he is now set to revisit his old stomping ground. The Belgian is hoping for a friendly reception from the home crowd at Stamford Bridge when Real Madrid travels to London to face Chelsea in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

It will be a tense affair, with Real Madrid looking to exact revenge on the Blues after being booted out in the semi-finals of the same competition last year. As such, Courtois knows that the home fans will not be happy with him especially if he does well for Los Blancos. "I hope that they don't boo me, but you never know," Courtois shared ahead of the match.

However, he knows that he can hope for the best but he needs to brace himself if some Chelsea fans do not offer a warm welcome. "I'm prepared for whatever comes and we'll have to see how it goes. I hope it's a happy return to Stamford Bridge." Realistically, he admits that he isn't expecting any cheers to go his way despite having had a long and fruitful relationship with the Premier League side. "We're now rivals. They'll want to win and the same goes for me too and so I'm not expecting any applause from the fans," he said.

Courtois made a name for himself in the international stage after he joined Chelsea in 2011 and was sent on loan to Atletico Madrid until 2014. During this time, he played for Real Madrid's city rivals, but he admitted that it had always been his dream to join the 13-time European Champions.

"When I arrive at the training ground and see the Real Madrid badge, I sometimes think: Pinch me! This isn't a dream, is it?" he said. Luckily for him, his time with Atletico did not dissuade Real Madrid president Florentino Perez from signing him from Chelsea in 2018.

"Not even in my wildest dream could I have imagined that I would one day play for Real Madrid. That's the good thing about football. You have to believe in yourself and that one day your dreams will come true," he added.

On Wednesday, he will be key in Real Madrid's push to eliminate Chelsea. Los Blancos were completely overpowered by the English side last season, and they will be hoping to have learned from their mistakes this time around.

Eden Hazard
Real Madrid player Eden Hazard (c) and Courtois (L) won the Premier League title with Chelsea in the past Getty