Atletico Madrid’s Belgian international goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, rates himself as one of the best shot stoppers in the business.
Deemed not quite good enough yet to challenge Petr Cech for his place between the sticks at parent club Chelsea, 21-year-old Courtois has been blossoming on loan at the Vicente Calderon.
Rated La Liga’s best ‘keeper last season, Courtois has Copa del Rey and Uefa Super Cup medals to his name, and is enjoying Champions League football with Los Rojiblancos.
He has also played a key role in Belgium’s impressive qualification for next year’s World Cup, and made a handful of top saves to deny tough Croatia in front of their own fans last weekend.
It was another display to make the pundits sit up and take notice, and infused Courtois with self-belief.
"I am in my best moment of form right now. I feel as if I am among the top five goalkeepers in the world," he told AS.
"I have grown a lot at Atleti, especially last season when we won the European Super Cup and the Copa del Rey.
“I have made a lot of progress, above all in speed, reflexes and experience."
While Chelsea may still view him as Cech’s long-term successor, there is no doubt that Courtois is ready to excel at the highest level right now.
He has been linked to Barcelona as Victor Valdes’ replacement when the Spanish international leaves the Camp Nou next season.
But Courtois is not fixating on Barca or any other club at the moment. All he wants is regular game time.
"I want to play," he said.
"I do not want to be sitting on the bench. I feel very good at Atletico and being here allows me to play in the Champions League."