Thibaut Courtois will not play in 2024 European Championships

Thibaut Courtois will not play in 2024 European Championships
Thibaut Courtois. Credit: Belga/Kristof Van Accom

After a six-month absence following a knee injury, Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois confirmed that he will not take part in the European Championship next summer in an exclusive interview with Sporza on Tuesday.

Rumours about Courtois not taking part in the European Football Championship in 2024 have been circulating for about two weeks, but the Real Madrid goalkeeper refused to officially confirm these statements – until now.

"Because of the injury, there will be no European Championships for me. I first have to fully recover and it is better to not put a date on that," Courtois told Sporza. "If I am lucky, I can play another match in May. But I can never be 100% ready for a big tournament like that."

He stressed the importance of giving clarity to the rest of the Red Devils players and members of the national team. "I will play at 80% while we have other good goalkeepers. I am putting my honour aside and will just be an extra supporter in June. Hopefully for a European title."

'Not about the captaincy'

Courtois did not cite the argument with coach Domenico Tedesco about who would become team captain as an official reason, but he confirmed that the issue has nevertheless played a role.

In recent weeks, the Belgian Football Association was hopeful that a reconciliation between Tedesco and Courtois was on the cards, but the goalkeeper has now made it clear that he does not see that happening in the near future. Since he disappeared in June after the dispute over the captaincy in the match against Austria (which did not go to him, but instead to Romelu Lukaku), there has been no contact between the two.

"Firstly, let me make it clear that it was not about the captaincy. The whole story is much more nuanced than that," he said. "If my departure was purely about the captaincy, then I would have left in March [when Tedesco chose Kevin De Bruyne as captain]. It wasn't a problem that Kevin became captain. After that, you had Romelu and me as vice-captains – without a clear hierarchy."

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A few hours before kick-off in the match against Austria, Tedesco told Lukaku and Courtois that the former would be captain against Austria, and Courtois would be captain in the next match against Estonia.

"Something snapped inside me. I could not handle it anymore. The fact that I no longer felt appreciation from the federation and trainer made something explode in me."

In the interview, Courtois also apologised to his teammates and supporters: "It was wrong to leave after the match against Austria. I would like to apologise to the team and especially the supporters. I think those two groups were the most shocked: I am sorry and I apologise."

His decision means that Koen Casteels will get the chance to shine in the European Championships in Germany next summer.

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