Man City star De Bruyne to lead Belgium at Euro 2024

AP , Tuesday 28 May 2024

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will lead a rejuvenated Belgium side including a once-retired Alex Witsel at the European Championship next month.

Kevin De Bruyne
File Photo: Belgium s Kevin De Bruyne in action during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Canada, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022. AP


De Bruyne and Witsel were on the 25-man list unveiled by coach Domenico Tedesco on Tuesday. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, preparing for the Champions League final, was not.

Full back Maxim De Cuyper, who won the Belgian league with Club Brugge last weekend, was the only newcomer.

De Bruyne and Witsel are remaining members of the so-called golden generation of Belgian players. While De Bruyne's presence was expected, Witsel's was a surprise after Tedesco dropped him from his first squad last year. Witsel soon after announced his retirement from international soccer and did not play in qualifying.

But Tedesco said Witsel's recent showings with Atletico Madrid convinced him the 35-year-old midfielder was the right choice.

“I have the best feelings with Axel,” Tedesco said.

Tedesco said Courtois was not ready for Euro 2024, which starts on June 14 in Germany, after recently returning from injury. The men are at odds since a dispute last year, and Courtois announced in December he would miss the Euros.

Tedesco succeeded Roberto Martinez as Belgium manager in February 2023. He has yet to lose a game in charge of the Red Devils.

Belgium will face Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine in Group E. Belgium’s best result at the continental tournament was runner-up in 1980.

Belgium squad:

Goalkeepers: Matz Sels (Nottingham Forest), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thomas Kaminski (Luton).

Defenders: Wout Faes (Leicester), Timothy Castagne (Fulham), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht), Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Thomas Meunier (Trabzonspor), Maxim De Cuyper (Club Brugge)

Midfielders: Aster Vranckx (Wolfsburg), Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa), Orel Mangala (Lyon), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Arthur Vermeeren (Atletico Madrid), Amadou Onana (Everton)

Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Roma), Charles De Ketelaere (Atalanta), Jérémy Doku (Manchester City), Lois Openda (Leipzig), Leandro Trossard (Arsenal), Johan Bakayoko (PSV Eindhoven), Dodi Lukebakio (Sevilla), Yannick Carrasco (Al-Shabab)

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