Thibaut Courtois has ruled out the possibility of the Belgian goalkeeper returning to international duty before Euro 2024 as he recovers from injury, criticizing Domenico Tedesco’s response to the scandal that saw the goalkeeper sent off from the national team earlier this year.
The Real Madrid keeper abruptly left the Belgian camp in June ahead of the Euro qualifier against Estonia.
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He and Tedesco have given contradictory explanations for their departure, with Courtois saying he was “angry” at being asked to share the captaincy with Romelu Lukaku.
Courtois then tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during preseason training with Real Madrid in August.
Asked about his recovery in an interview with Belgian newspaper Sporza on Tuesday, Courtois said: “Everything is going according to plan and things are going a little better than expected.”
“Normally I would be able to start walking after four months, but I’ve been working on it for a week now. I haven’t had any setbacks. It’s important to be patient right now.”
“The club has made it clear that they want me to recover to 100% and will never return too soon. I don’t want to betray that trust. If I don’t play any more games this season, Well, that’s no problem.”
“Due to the injury, the European Championship is not possible for me. First I need to recover 100%. After that it is better not to decide on dates. If I am lucky I will be able to play in May. But then There’s no way you can be 100% ready for a big tournament. ”
Courtois has apologized for his decision to leave the national team after the 1-1 qualifying draw with Austria on June 17, but Tedesco’s attitude and the manager’s response to the captaincy issue have contributed to tensions between the two teams. I blamed him for what happened.
Coach Courtois said, “It was a wrong decision to leave after the match against Austria. I would like to apologize to the team, especially the supporters.”
“My decision had a small impact on me personally, but a big impact on the group. It caused anxiety before the match in Estonia.
“It had nothing to do with the captaincy. The whole story is much more nuanced than that…If my resignation was purely due to the captaincy, I would have resigned in March. I would have done it.” [when Kevin De Bruyne was chosen]. Captain Kevin? no problem. After that, Romel and I became vice-captains, and there was no hierarchy.
“That week in question, I was the only one of the three captains there, and the national team coach never spoke to me, except for a minute before training to ask how Madrid were doing. That was it. I was like: There’s something weird going on here.
“Here at Madrid, I am respected by everyone at the club. [Belgium] I don’t really feel it… On the Saturday of the game, a few hours before kick-off, Tedesco said that Romelu was the captain against Austria and I was the captain against Estonia. Something snapped inside me. I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Tedesco gave me seven different interpretations of why Romelu is captain. Each time it was different…The coach made no effort to find a solution, just said he would tell the press everything. He wanted to pressure me not to leave,” he threatened. It was a personal conversation. It’s a breach of trust between player and coach.”
Mr. Courtois said he could not accept Mr. Tedesco’s decision to make the incident public.
“He makes me laugh,” Courtois said. “Very few people are willing to be honest with the press, and very few coaches are. Tedesco says he’s honest, but that’s not true…Again, I made the mistake of resigning. But as a coach, you should try to keep the players in a position of importance rather than trying to lead by example.
“Tedesco tried to launch an attack against me, and then the next day the matter was leaked to the press, which I know was from his side.”
According to Belgian media reports, Courtois referred to Leicester players who were relegated from the Premier League and suggested his team-mates were not good enough.
“I never said that some players are not up to the standard,” Courtois told Sporza. “I know guys like [Timothy] castagne, [Youri] Tielemans and [Dennis] Prato, for a long time… The only thing is that we are not afraid to say this: we were inferior in the match against Austria, there was a player in the team who was demoted, and that player lost more games. If there are more than If you win, it will be difficult to turn the situation around.
“I don’t have any disrespect towards Leicester or some of the players. That’s what happens in football too… In my first season at Real Madrid, I conceded a lot of goals. But I will say this. “There were only two people who knew what I said.” So someone wanted to paint me in a bad light.” ”
Courtois said he has not ruled out a return to the national team in the future.
“When too many things happen and trust is betrayed, you end up in a situation that is difficult to get out of. I don’t know what kind of solution there is. Because in a relationship, you have to trust each other first. Because I have to.” “I love playing for the national team so much.
“Apart from the Champions League final, the World Cup and the European Championship are the best things for a footballer. The door is definitely not closed for me. All I have to do is stay focused on Real Madrid this season. I know.” ”