Domenico Tedesco sees Courtois request to miss the team’s match against Estonia to be shocking
Thibaut Courtois, the 31-year-old goalkeeper, made a surprising request to not join the Belgium national team for their Euro 2024 qualifier against Estonia on Tuesday. Courtois informed coach Domenico Tedesco that he felt a lack of respect within the team and decided to leave the squad.
Despite playing in the previous match against Austria, Courtois expressed his unavailability for the upcoming game against Estonia to Tedesco.
Tedesco explains that Courtois’s discontent became evident when Lukaku was appointed as captain for the Austria game in the absence of De Bruyne, who was injured.
“Together we decided that Romelu would be captain against Austria and Thibaut tomorrow against Estonia,” Tedesco told reporters on Monday.
“That was okay for everyone but after the match he (Courtois) suddenly wanted to talk to me and said he was going home because he was disappointed and felt offended.”
“From the beginning I tried to show him the appreciation he deserves. In my eyes he is the best goalkeeper in the world. I love him as a goalkeeper but also as a human being. I am shocked.”
Tedesco, who assumed the coaching responsibilities from Roberto Martinez following an unexpected elimination in the first round of the World Cup in Qatar last November, declined to comment on Courtois’s future with the national team.
“It’s not the right time to say anything about that, because we have an important game tomorrow,” he said. “The next games are in September and we will see then.”
Thierry Courtois, the father of Courtois, stated to Belgian media earlier on Monday that his son had withdrawn from the Estonia game due to a knee injury.
However, Tedesco, the coach, denied this claim. He admitted that he wished he could say it was an injury, but he couldn’t lie. Tedesco always tries to protect his players, but in this situation, it was impossible. He attempted to convince Courtois to hold on for two more days. Courtois, the Real Madrid goalkeeper, has accumulated 102 caps for Belgium since his debut in 2011.
Tedesco confirmed that Matz Sels would be the starting goalkeeper against Estonia, adding to his two previous international appearances.
Belgium currently has four points from their first two qualifiers in Group F, including a 3-0 victory over Sweden.