Belgian coach in shock as Courtois leaves Belgium camp

Photo: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

According to reports, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has left Belgium’s training camp ahead of a qualifying match for next year’s European Championship.

Reports claim that Courtois was frustrated not to be handed the captain’s armband while playing for the Red Devils.

The Belgian federation (RBFA) confirmed to The Associated Press that Courtois had left the camp and would miss Tuesday’s match against Estonia.

Although the RBFA didn’t state a reason for Courtois’ departure, Belgian media reported on Monday that Courtois was disappointed with coach Domenico Tedesco’s handling of the captaincy.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is the regular skipper, having taken over from Eden Hazard, but he missed the match against Austria after picking up an injury in the Champions League final.

Tedesco gave the captain role to Romelu Lukaku for the game against Austria, which made Courtois displeased.

Courtois has played 102 matches for Belgium, making him the most experienced in the squad, and the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper reported that Courtois was frustrated by the decision and did not show up when players gathered back at the team’s hotel to prepare for the Estonia game.

Strasbourg goalkeeper Matz Sels is now expected to replace Courtois in goal for their game against Estonia.

The Belgium boss, Tedesco, has now revealed his shock at Courtois’ behaviour.

“Together we decided that Romelu would be captain against Austria and Thibaut tomorrow against Estonia,” Tedesco told reporters on Monday.

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

“From the beginning I tried to show him the appreciation he deserves. In my eyes he is the best goalkeeper in the world. I love him as a goalkeeper but also as a human being. I am shocked.”