Atletico hope to avoid Chelsea so Courtois can play in semifinals

Thibaut Courtois has been integral this season for Atletico.

MADRID (AP) Atletico Madrid is hoping to avoid Chelsea in Friday’s Champions League draw so that on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois can play in the semifinals.

Courtois is in his third season on-loan from Chelsea to the Spanish league leader and Atletico president Enrique Cerezo says it would have to pay a hefty fee to field the Belgium goalkeeper against the club that owns his registration.

Spanish reports put the figure at a minimum of 6 million euros ($8.3 million).

”It’s a number we can’t afford to pay,” Cerezo said after Atletico beat Barcelona 1-0 for a 2-1 aggregate victory in the quarterfinals.

Courtois was allowed to play when Atletico beat Chelsea 3-0 in the European Super Cup in 2012.

Defending champion Bayern Munich and crosstown rival Real Madrid are the semifinalists.