Yannick Carrasco, one of the most experienced players in the Belgian national team, has expressed his disappointment with Thibaut Courtois’ reaction over the captaincy issue that caused a rift in the squad. The goalkeeper left the team after feeling insulted by not being named captain for the match against Austria, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The armband was given to Romelu Lukaku instead, who scored the equalizer for Belgium.
Courtois claimed that he had a knee problem that prevented him from playing against Estonia on Tuesday, but his coach Domenico Tedesco revealed that the real reason was his frustration with the captaincy decision. Tedesco said that he had planned to rotate the armband among different players, and that Courtois would have been the captain for the Estonia game. However, Courtois did not accept this explanation and decided to leave the group without informing anyone.
Carrasco said that he was surprised and saddened by Courtois’ behavior. “We more or less understood what Courtois did, we had a meeting with the coach about it,” he told RBTV. “We were a bit disappointed with Courtois’ reaction. An armband is just a detail. Maybe he had a physical issue? No idea, we haven’t been able to talk to him yet.”
Carrasco added that being a captain means being a leader and taking responsibility, something that Courtois failed to do by abandoning his teammates. He also said that he hoped that Courtois would return to the team and sort out his differences with Tedesco and the rest of the players. “He is an important player for us, we need him,” he said.
Courtois has denied Tedesco’s version of events and insisted that he left because of his injury. He also said that he was proud to play for Belgium and that he would always give his best for his country. However, his actions have cast a shadow over Belgium’s campaign for Euro 2024, which they are second place in Group F behind Austria.