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Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois questions head coach’s ‘reality’ after accusations of abandoning team

ByTeam BB

Jun 20, 2023


Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois questioned Domenico Tedesco’s “reality” after the Belgium coach accused him of abandoning his teammates and faking an injury before a European Championship qualifiers,

Tedesco claimed Courtois didn’t turn up for Belgium’s training camp on Monday because the goalie was “offended” by his handling of the captaincy. After Courtois’ father denied there was a dispute within the squad and said his son was allowed to leave because of a knee inflammation, Tedesco told the media that Courtois was not injured.

Courtois responded in a statement late Monday accompanied by a picture of him in a Belgium outfit and one hand on his heart, standing next to interim captain Romelu Lukaku, that he was “deeply disappointed” that Tedesco spoke publicly about their locker room conversation.

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Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois during the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying match between Belgium and Austria at King Baudouin Stadium on June 17, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. AP | Dutch Height | GERRIT OF COLOGNE (AP | Dutch Height | GERRIT OF COLOGNE ANP via Getty Images)

He added that “the coach’s assessments do not fit with reality.”

Courtois insisted he has a problem in his right knee and his decision to leave was taken after consultations between the medical teams of his real madrid club and the national squad.

The goalkeeper also gave his version of the conversation he had with Tedesco about the team captaincy.

“I asked him, not for direct benefit, to explain and make decisions to avoid situations that in the past have harmed us while always looking for the general benefit,” he said. “To be or not to be the national team captain is neither a whim nor a random decision, it should be his decision, and that is what I tried to convey to him. Unfortunately I did not achieve my purpose.”

BELGIAN COACH DOMENICO TEDESCO ‘SHOCKED’ AT THIBAUT COURTOIS’ DECISION TO LEAVE TRAINING CAMP

David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois embrace

David Alaba of Austria, Thibaut Courtois of Belgium shaking hands after the match during the Group D – UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round match between Belgium and Austria at the King Baudouin Stadium on June 17, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium (Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Before Courtois’ walkout, Tedesco publicly said it would be Courtois’ turn to wear the armband against Estonia on Tuesday.

“I insist that in no case have I demanded anything and that I have spoken to my teammate Romelu Lukaku to clarify any circumstances related to this situation,” Courtois added.

Lukaku was captain on Saturday when Belgium drew with Austria 1-1. Lukaku scored his equaliser. and Courtois was praised by Tedesco for preserving the draw.

But Tedesco said on Monday when Courtois — who has 102 matches for Belgium — didn’t regather with the team that the goalie was frustrated not to have been captain.

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Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois of Belgium during the Group D – UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round match between Belgium and Austria at the King Baudouin Stadium on June 17, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium (Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

“And of course, I tried several times to speak to him: ‘Don’t do that to me, don’t do that to the staff, don’t do that to the team.’ Because it’s a tough one, it’s a hard decision that he took,” Tedesco said.

Asked whether he would leave the door open for Courtois to return to the national squad, Tedesco said, “It’s not the right moment to speak about it.”

Unbeaten in Group F, Belgium trails leader Austria by three points but has one match in hand before taking on Estonia.



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