Real Madrid star makes admission on international exile

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says he is still keen to play international football for Belgium despite his recent clash with manager Domenico Tedesco.

Courtois fell out with former Schalke boss Tedesco after feeling overlooked for the captain’s role in the absence of injured skipper Kevin De Bruyne in the Red Devils’ Euro 2024 qualifying clash with Austria.

Despite a plan to take the armband for the next game against Estonia, the former Chelsea shot-stopper insisted he felt a lack of “appreciation” from the Belgian FA and was left displeased with Tedesco’s comments to the press over the fallout.

Thibaut CourtoisThibaut Courtois

Courtois has enjoyed great success at Madrid / Omar Vega/GettyImages

“Everyone has an opinion on this subject, and that’s normal,” Courtois said. “But I think many people didn’t understand my point of view. It wasn’t so much about the captaincy. During this time there was little or no discussion with me. I felt like I wasn’t counted on. Perhaps I made a choice a little too quickly. But I’m just a human being with feelings, I’m not a robot.

“We will see what the future holds for us. I still want to play for Belgium, but I’m not getting any younger.”

Courtois has already confirmed he will miss Euro 2024 due to the anterior cruciate ligament injury he sustained just before the start of the 2023/24 season. He is the only Belgian men’s goalkeeper to record over 100 caps and sits seventh in the all-time standings behind fellow golden generation alumni Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Toby Alderweireld, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens.

In the 31-year-old’s absence, Tedesco has utilised Wolfsburg’s Koen Casteels and Strasbourg’s Matz Sels between the sticks, while Kepa Arrizabalaga and Andriy Lunin have battled for the number one spot under Carlo Ancelotti at Madrid.


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