Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois says he finds it "strange" that Romelu Lukaku has played such a bit-part role at Chelsea this season.
As Belgium teammates, Courtois knows all about the threat the 28-year-old frontman can pose and believes he can come through his sticky spell in West London which has seen him remain largely out of favour under Blues boss Thomas Tuchel.
The pair will come face-to-face on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge, with Real travelling to Stamford Bridge for the Champions League quarter-final first leg tie.
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"I know Romelu is a really great striker. Obviously, it is a bit strange not to see him play that much lately," Courtois said.
"He is a guy with an enormous quality. He finds the goal easily. Obviously there are other great strikers in Chelsea. I understand it is not always easy when the team is winning, obviously, the manager keeps playing the same players.
"But I’m sure he will get through it. Sometimes you just need a little adaptation. I had the same thing in my first season at Real Madrid, it wasn’t easy. I’m sure he will come through.
"I’m sure he will be good but I hope it’s not tomorrow [Wednesday]. He can wait one more week.”
Lukaku's relationship with Tuchel has been under the microscope this season, with the Belgian's explosive comments to Sky Italia back in December detailing his unhappiness creating a significant fissure. And it was perhaps instructive that Tuchel - when asked before Wednesday's encounter who he would like to take from Madrid's team - chose Karim Benzema, in what could be interpreted as a barb towards his own No. 9.
Tuchel said: "Two years ago I think he [Benzema] was one of the most underrated players in world football, and maybe not any more.
"He absolutely deserves everything that has happened to him, he has been how many years as the number nine for Real Madrid, and that speaks for itself. And how he carries responsibility, in the last stage for them.
"What a key part he plays for them as a captain now, it's very impressive.
"You can see what can happen to a team in his absence, from the Clasico [Real lost 4-0 to Barcelona last month without the Frenchman].
"He's for sure a standout player and personality."
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