Belgium's Courtois rules himself out of Euro 2024

AFP , Tuesday 19 Dec 2023

Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on Tuesday ruled himself out of next summer's Euro 2024 championship, four months after suffering a serious knee injury in training.

FILE - Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois waves to fans at the end of the Champions League semifinal first leg football match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, on May 9, 2023. Photo: AP


The 31-year-old Real Madrid stopper is currently sidelined after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee back in August.

"Due to the injury, there will be no European championships for me anyway," Courtois told Belgian outlet Sporza.

"If I'm lucky, I can play another match in May. But then you can never be 100 percent ready for a big tournament."

The European football showcase kicks off in Germany on June 14.

Belgium -- currently ranked fourth in the world by FIFA -- have so far been drawn in group E with Slovakia and Romania.

The announcement by Courtois also follows a spat with the team's coach Domenico Tedesco that saw the keeper refuse to play a qualifying game in Estonia in June after being overlooked for the stand-in captaincy.

Courtois in his comments apologised to his teammates and fans for the move, but insisted he had "experienced a lack of appreciation".

"For me, it's no problem to sort things out like two adults," he said of his relationship with Tedesco.

"But where is the middle ground after a breach of trust like this?"

Despite the dispute Courtois was adamant that he was not calling time definitively on his international career.

"The door is definitely not closed for me," Courtois told Sporza.

"However, I know that I have to keep the focus on Real Madrid this season. And the European Championship does not figure in the plans for a perfect return."

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