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Courtois 'fails to show up for Belgium duty' in spat over Lukaku being captain

Real Madrid goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois reportedly failed to report for international duty with Belgium after Romelu Lukaku was named captain ahead of him for the draw with Austria.

In the absence of the official skipper Kevin De Bruyne, Lukaku captained the Red Devils on Saturday with Courtois shunned for the role in a pre-planned move by Domenico Tedesco, according to Mail Online.

The goalkeeper was set to be the captain against Estonia. But Courtois took exception to the decision and was not present when the squad gathered at their hotel to begin preparations for their next Euro 2024 qualifier

That is according to Het Nieuwsblad in his homeland, who have also highlighted the fact that the 31-year-old was honoured for his 100th cap at the weekend. His fiancee Mishel Gerzig had awarded him a special memento just a week before their wedding.

'Thibaut Courtois is very important to us,' Tedesco said on Saturday night. 'I can't tell you how much I appreciate him.

It was gathered that Courtois ripped into a number of team-mates in the dressing room after the final whistle, a game in which striker Lukaku's equaliser salvaged a draw.

Real Madrid stopper Courtois is also carrying a slight injury, the same publication adds, though Tedesco's camp are unaware of any potential setback.

It is currently unclear how Tedesco will respond to the experienced player's drastic step, but a press conference scheduled for this evening could shed more light.

Back-up keeper Matz Sels, formerly on the books at Newcastle, could even replace Courtois between the sticks tomorrow, with Koen Casteels ruled out.

Reserve options Thomas Kaminski and Arnaud Bodart are also in contention to play.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois has made 102 appearances in total for Belgium and made his senior debut in a friendly goalless draw with France in 2011.

He is yet to taste major success on the international scene but did clinch a bronze World Cup medal after his nation finished third in Russia in 2018.

Belgium currently sits 2nd in their qualifying group on four points, trailing leaders Austria, who have played one game more by three points. 

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