‘Who leaked this? If it gets out, it’s his last day in the national team’: Thibaut Courtois issues a chilling warning to his Belgium team-mates amid reports of a dressing-room clash… but Eden Hazard denies there was a rift after Morocco defeat
Thibaut Courtois has called out media ‘lies’ over a reported bust-up in the Belgium camp – and threatened to end the national career of the person who leaked the information.
L’Equipe put out claims that Kevin De Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen and captain Eden Hazard clashed in the dressing room after Belgium’s defeat to Morocco, as previously reported by Sportsmail.
But the 30-year-old Real Madrid goalkeeper has denied the claims of a major falling out among the Red Devils, despite some understandable anger at the shock loss. He issued a warning to whoever it was that was spreading the stories in the first place.
Thibaut Courtois hit out at the member of the Belgian team who leaked stories of the clash
According to Walfoot, Courtois said: ‘We said things to each other, and sometimes it feels good. I don’t think we missed it, but it’s one thing to talk to each other at the table or individually or to talk in a group, to solve everything together.
‘The problem, it’s that what’s said in the press isn’t always the truth. Whoever leaked this? We don’t need to know that. If it gets out, it’s his last day in the national team.’
The goalkeeper added: ‘There are no problems in the team, it’s just an external attempt to create problems internally. Of course, after a defeat, nobody is happy, but it brings us even closer because we know that we will have to give everything on the pitch on Thursday.’
Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne reportedly clashed after their shock 2-0 defeat by Morocco
Hazard himself spoke out about the issue during the pre-match press conference. He said: ‘We had a good talk among the players. A lot has been said. We talked for an hour about good things and less good things. Now we want to win against Croatia. We now have two days to prepare. We have to be ready.’
However, he denied reports of a post-match confrontation after the Senegal defeat, saying it was only Roberto Martinez, the manager, who spoke to players after the match. Hazard himself spoke with Kevin De Bruyne after the latter was quoted as saying the Belgium squad was too old to win the World Cup.
‘Nothing happened in the dressing-room,’ the Real Madrid star said. ‘Only the coach spoke. I spoke to Kevin De Bruyne, he does believe in the group.’
Hazard spoke to reporters to confirm players spoke after Morocco defeat, but denied bust-up
He called upon the Red Devils to do better on the pitch, adding: ‘We still have quality in the group and are here to win. We lack confidence because of that last pass and that last dribble. We have to regain that confidence.’
In Belgium’s final group stage match, Martinez’s side face beaten 2018 finalists Croatia, knowing that they need a result from the match, or face being knocked out at the first stage.
Morocco are currently ahead of them in the group, and will progress with a win against Canada, who have already been eliminated. Martinez’s side would overtake Croatia with a victory, whilst a draw would leave them relying on the north African side losing to their CONCACAF counterparts.
Belgium’s key players Hazard, De Bruyne and Vertonghen were all involved in the reported bust-up after Morocco’s 2-0 win, and Romelu Lukaku had to step in to break up the angered trio at the Al Thumama stadium.
Romelu Lukaku was reportedly required to step in to break the warring Belgian teammates
Sportsmail also revealed that the wife of fellow Red Devils squad member Dries Mertens said there was a ‘really awkward’ team barbecue after the falling out, as Belgium prepare for their vital Croatia match, which will happen at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan.
Belgium finished third in 2018, and made the quarter-finals in 2014. Their last elimination at the World Cup group stages was back in 1998, when they drew their three matches against Holland, Mexico and South Korea.