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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Romelu Lukaku backs Belgium return for Thibaut Courtois after spat with coach

Overlooked for the standin captain’s role, Courtois refused to play in June’s European Championship qualifier against Estonia, says Domenico Tedesco

Reuters Brussels Published 13.10.23, 08:58 AM
Belgium's Orel Mangala attends a training session.   

Belgium's Orel Mangala attends a training session.    Twitter

Belgium’s stand-in captain Romelu Lukaku said he would welcome Thibaut Courtois back into the national team with open arms after the goalkeeper walked out of the squad in June.

Overlooked for the stand-in captain’s role, Courtois refused to play in June’s European Championship qualifier against Estonia, according to coach Domenico Tedesco who this week said he had since had no contact with the Real Madrid goalkeeper. Courtois tore knee ligaments and underwent surgery in August. Earlier this week Belgium fullback Timothy Castagne said he did not think Courtois could return to the squad without any explanation.

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Lukaku, however, expressed a different opinion.

“We must put what happened behind us,” he told a news conference as Belgium prepared for their next qualifier against Austria in Vienna on Friday.

“I wish Thibaut a good rehabilitation, and if he returns, I will be the first to welcome him back with open arms.”

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