Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois accuses UEFA of prioritising money over players

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 (BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)
(BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Thibaut Courtois has accused UEFA of prioritising money over the welfare of players.

The Real Madrid and Belgium goalkeeper slammed the European footballing body for a schedule that places increasing demands on footballers to play virtually all-year round.

Speaking after Belgium’s Uefa Nations League third-place play-off defeat to Italy, Courtois described the encounter as “just a money game” and a symptom of wider problems with a congested calendar.

“This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it,” Courtois told Sky Sports.

“We just play it because for UEFA it’s extra money. This just shows that we play too many games.

“It’s a bad thing that players are not spoken about. And now you hear about a European Championship and a World Cup every year, when will we get a rest? Never.

“They [UEFA] made an extra trophy [UEFA Conference League]… it is always the same: they can be angry about other teams wanting a Super League but they don’t care about the players, they just care about their pockets.”

Courtois had described the third-place play-off in Turin as “pointless” ahead of the game.

Belgium were beaten by eventual Nations League winners France in their semi-final before falling to Euro 2020 winners Italy to finish fourth in the competition.

Both Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku missed out for Roberto Martinez’s side due to muscle fatigue, and Courtois fears that increased injury issues are likely as the football calendar further over-populates.

“In the end top players will get injured and injured and injured. It’s something that should be much better and much more taken care of,” said the former Chelsea goalkeeper.

“We are not robots! It’s just more and more games and less rest for us and nobody cares about us.

“Next year we have a World Cup in November, we have to play until the latter stages of June again. We will get injured! Nobody cares about the players anymore.

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