‘It’s just a money game’: Thibaut Courtois criticises football authorities about amount of matches

The Belgium goalkeeper added his voice to critics of plans for a biennial World Cup

Karl Matchett
Monday 11 October 2021 12:01
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Real Madrid and Belgian No1 Thibaut Courtois has spoken out over the demands on international footballers playing too many games, saying the authorities treat players as if they were “robots”.

Courtois played for his country at the weekend in the UefaNations League third-place play-off, a match which he feels only exists for the financial rewards to Europe’s governing body, saying they “just care about their pockets”.

Factoring in the delayed Euro 2020 and the winter World Cup in 2022, plus his demands at a club that tend to go relatively deep into European competition, it’s likely that Courtois will be required to play around 80 or 90 matches across 18 months between the end of the 20/21 campaign and the end of the tournament in Qatar.

He’s far from the only one who might be asked to produce such efforts on a near-non-stop basis and says Uefa and Fifa have no consideration for the players.

“This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it,” Courtois said. “We just play it because for Uefa it’s extra money.

“Look at how much both teams changed [their line-ups]. If both teams would have been in the final there would have been other players in the final playing. This just shows that we play too many games.

“They [Uefa] made an extra trophy [the 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.

“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.”

Courtois further pointed out that the inevitable result of relentless matches would be enforced absences for the top players and said it’s time for the players themselves to speak out.

“So 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,” added the two-time Premier League and La Liga winner.

“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 [mid-season and] we have to play until the latter stages of June again. We will get injured! Nobody cares about the players anymore. Three weeks of holiday is not enough for players to be able to continue for 12 months at the highest level. If we never say anything it [will be] always the same.”

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