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Thibaut Courtois “deeply disappointed” by Tedesco’s comments

The Real Madrid goalkeeper released an official statement on why he left the Belgium camp early

Belgium v Austria: Group F - UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois, the Real Madrid goalkeeper and one of the best in the world, has issued an official statement explaining why he left the Belgian national team camp ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifier against Estonia on Tuesday.

Courtois said he was “deeply disappointed” by the comments made by head coach Domenico Tedesco, who claimed that Courtois had refused to travel with the team because he felt “offended” at not being named captain for the previous match against Austria on Saturday.

Courtois played in the 1-1 draw with Austria, but was not given the captain’s armband in Kevin de Bruyne’s absence. Tedesco said that Courtois was unhappy that Romelu Lukaku was given the captain’s armband instead of him.

Courtois denied that he had any problem with Lukaku or De Bruyne, and said that he had a minor knee injury that prevented him from playing on Tuesday. He also said that he had informed Tedesco of his decision before the Austria game, and that he had the permission of the Belgian Federation (RBFA) to leave the camp.

Courtois said in his statement: “I want to clarify some things that have been said about me in the last few days. First of all, I want to say that I love my country and I am proud to represent Belgium at every level. I have always given my best for the national team and I have played 102 games for them, including three World Cups.

Secondly, I want to say that I have no issue with Romelu Lukaku or Kevin De Bruyne being captains. They are both great players and leaders, and I respect them a lot. I have never asked to be captain, nor have I ever felt offended by not being captain. That is not true at all.

Thirdly, I want to say that I did not refuse to travel with the team to Estonia. I had a minor injury in my right knee that made it impossible for me to play on Tuesday. I told this to coach Tedesco before the game against Austria, and he agreed that I could stay in Belgium to recover. I also had the permission of the RBFA to leave the camp after the Austria game.

I am deeply disappointed by the comments made by coach Tedesco after the game. He said that I was offended and that I did not respect him or the team. That is completely false and unfair. He also said that he was shocked by my decision, but he knew about it beforehand. He did not try to protect me or tell the truth. He only damaged my reputation and my relationship with the fans.

I hope this statement clears up any misunderstanding.”

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