Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Alamy Stock Photo
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Courtois hits back at Belgium coach and denies claim he refused to travel for Euro qualifier

Coach Domenico Tedesco previously said the Real Madrid goalkeeper felt ‘insulted’ over the matter.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Jun 2023

THIBAUT COURTOIS HAS hit back at Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco and maintained he pulled out of the squad for Tuesday’s European Championship qualifier in Estonia due to a knee injury.

Earlier Tedesco insisted the Real Madrid goalkeeper had refused to travel for the match due to being “offended” at being overlooked for the captaincy against Austria on Saturday.

Tedesco claimed Courtois told him after the Austria game that he was going home, and rejected rumours of a medical issue, telling a press conference: “I wish I could say it’s an injury, but I can’t lie.”

However Tedesco’s claims have infuriated Courtois, who issued a strongly-worded statement on his personal website which refuted the coach’s claims.

“This afternoon I was surprised to hear the coach’s press conference in which he gave a partial and subjective account of a private conversation we had after the match against Austria,” wrote Courtois.

“I want to make it clear that it is not the first time or the last time that I talk to a coach about issues related to a locker room, but it is the first time that someone decides to tell it publicly.

“I am deeply disappointed with this, but I want to make it clear that the coach’s assessments do not fit with reality.”

Along with Romelu Lukaku, Courtois is one of two Belgium vice-captains, and it was Lukaku who was given the nod to wear the armband against Austria in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, despite Courtois celebrating his 100th cap.

Courtois added: “I insist that in no case have I demanded anything and that I have spoken to my team-mate Romelu Lukaku to clarify any circumstances relating to this situation.

“Furthermore yesterday afternoon I underwent a check-up for a problem in my right knee. The medical team of my club and the national team were in contact and reviewed all the corresponding material to make the decision to leave the training camp.”

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