Why Thibaut Courtois isn’t playing for Belgium at Euro 2024

A familiar face will be absent between the sticks for Belgium (Picture: Getty)

Thibaut Courtois will be watching Belgium’s second Euro 2024 group game vs Romania at home like the rest of us today, having not been named in Belgium’s squad for the tournament.

This is despite the fact that Courtois is fit to play, having started in goal for Real Madrid for the Champions League final win over Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.

Courtois has endured a hugely frustrating 2023/24 campaign, tearing the ACL in his left knee on the eve of the season, before tearing the meniscus in his other knee upon his return to training in March – restricting him to only a handful of appearances at the end of the season.

Courtois has been part of the so-called Golden Generation of Belgian players over the past decade which has frequently reached the latter stages of tournaments.

But the 32 year-old will have to wait for a couple more years at least for his next shot at helping Belgium, who lost their opening Euro 2024 game against Slovakia, win their maiden trophy on the international stage.

Why isn’t Thibaut Courtois playing for Belgium at Euro 2024?

Courtois has not been included in Belgium’s squad for Euro 2024 as a consequence of falling out with head coach Domenico Tedesco last June.

It all stemmed from Tedesco saying that Courtois had refused to travel with the squad for a Euro 2024 qualifier away to Estonia as the goalkeeper was ‘offended’ at not having been given the captaincy in a previous game against Austria.

Courtois has disputed Tedesco’s version of events (Picture: Getty)

‘Together we decided that Romelu would be captain against Austria and Thibaut tomorrow against Estonia,’ said Tedesco at the time, who was appointed to replace Roberto Martinez as manager in February 2023.

‘That was OK for everyone but after the match [Courtois] suddenly wanted to talk to me and said he was going home because he was disappointed and felt offended.’

Courtois hit back at the claims, insisting he was ‘surprised’ to hear Tedesco’s ‘partial and subjective account of a private conversation’ and that the Italian-German coach ‘wanted to launch an attack on me.’

Tedesco later hit back at Courtois’ father, dismissing claims that he had withdrawn from the squad due to a knee injury by saying ‘he can’t lie.’

Tedesco will be without his star goalkeeper (Picture: Getty)

Courtois poured further fuel on the fire when, earlier this year, Tedesco insisted he had tried to patch things up with the former Chelsea star, which saw him respond on Instagram by posting a ‘liar’ emoji.

His performance in the Champions League final had led to sections of the Belgian media calling for his return, but the player has seemingly resisted calls for a truce with his manager.

In Courtois’ absence, Belgium’s goalkeeping contingent is made up of Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thomas Kaminski (Luton) and Matz Sels (Nottingham Forest).

Courtois has won 102 caps for Belgium since his debut in 2011 and has played in all five major tournaments since the 2014 World Cup.

His 27 saves at the 2018 World Cup, the most of any goalkeeper, saw him leave Russia with the Golden Glove award to go with his third-place medal.

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