Belgium's acclaimed football squad has been rocked by a sensational scandal that threatens to unsettle its harmony just as it braces for the EURO qualification match against Estonia. The eye of this tempest? Star goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois.
A Shock Exit from the Camp
Courtois, who guards the goal for Real Madrid, dramatically abandoned the national camp in a stark display of discontent with coach Domenico Tadesco. The bone of contention, it seems, is Tadesco's decision to bestow the captain's armband on Romelu Lukaku for the recent clash with Austria, which concluded in a 1:1 draw.
Courtois aired his grievances publicly, shedding light on an intriguing backstage drama that is far from over. In a candid revelation, Courtois narrated his side of the story. The Belgian goalkeeper criticized the Italian tactician for his handling of the situation, claiming the coach's public narrative failed to align with reality.
"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," Courtois shared. "I want to make it clear that it is not the first 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."
The Fight for Leadership
In his address, Courtois underscored the weight of the captain's armband, emphasizing that being the national team's leader is neither a random decision nor a personal whim.
The star goalie underscored his attempts to convince Tadesco to reconsider his decision, albeit to no avail. "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," Courtois said.
He categorically denied demanding anything and insisted on having clarified the situation with Lukaku. He further dismissed rumors of any contentious discussions with other teammates. "I want to make it clear that I did not have any discussion on any similar subject with any teammate, as has been claimed."
Health Concerns and Future Stakes
Beyond the controversy, Courtois also revealed that a recent medical examination identified an issue with his right knee.
The player and his club, along with the national team's medical unit, assessed the situation, leading to his departure from the training camp.