"The fact that such a big club was already following me was like a dream come true".
The reward for his patience came when Chelsea chose to meet Athletic's demands after agreeing to let Courtois join Real.
Thibaut Courtois' desire to leave the club forced Chelsea to act fast, and they secured one of the best up-and-coming goalkeepers in world football to replace him in Kepa Arrizabalaga. This would be the second time it has been broken during this window after Liverpool won the race to sign Allison from Roma.
But one aspect of the deal could well be a huge mistake for Chelsea.
"I want to continue to add success to this club's history".
The 24-year-old Croatia global arrives at Stamford Bridge with a big reputation, but there is no official option for Chelsea to make the move permanent after the 2018/19 season.
"In terms of the price and me being the most expensive keeper in the world, it's something I don't think about", he said.More news: Angelina Jolie alleges Brad Pitt hasn't paid any 'meaningful child' support
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Belgium global goalkeeper Courtois is poised to leave for the Bernabeu, with the news that Chelsea have activated Kepa Arrizabalaga's release clause freeing up the 26-year-old to leave.
"Subject to the completion of the deal Mateo Kovacic will join the Blues on a season-long loan".
"But the most important thing is to open a new page with our club and to be ready to give everything for the club".
Bilbao are notorious non-negotiators, only selling their players for the fees of their release clauses or for the demanded club fee.
With just a year remaining on his contract, the 26-year-old had been absent from training this week as he looked to push through a move before the transfer window ended for Chelsea on Thursday.
"They have told me what it's like to play here and I've had excellent references from them. I know they are maybe not too happy at the moment, but I wish them all the best and I hope they remember me well".