Real Madrid goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois was not happy with the world football governing body, FIFA, and the European football governing body, UEFA. According to the Belgian goalkeeper, the football authorities are prioritizing revenue over the welfare of footballers.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper said this after Italy defeated Belgium 2-1 in the Nations League third-place match on Sunday, October 10, 2021.
Before the third-place match, Thibaut Courtois described the match as “pointless”. After the match, the Real Madrid goalkeeper stressed that the match was just to generate extra income for UEFA.
Ahead of the third-place match, the coach of the Belgium national team, Roberto Martinez confirmed that two of his best players, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard would not play in the game because they are suffering from muscles fatigue.
During the game, both Belgium and Italy rested a number of their players, a development Thibaut Courtois blamed on the number of games the players have had to play.
“This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it,” said Courtois.
“We just play it because for UEFA it’s extra money.
“Look at how much both teams changed [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.”
The appearance of Belgium and France in the Nations League third-placed game reduced the number of World Cup qualifiers the teams have to play in their quest to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The two teams will resume their World Cup qualification campaign on November 13 and end it on November 16, 2021.
Despite not being happy to play in a “pointless” third-place match, Thibaut Courtois took to social media after the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Italy to write: “Thanks for your support! We will come back stronger!”
Thibaut Courtois blasts FIFA and UEFA over the introduction of UEFA Conference League and the planned introduction of bi-annual world cup
Thibaut Courtois did not only blasts UEFA for how pointless the third-place match of the Nations League was, but also criticized the football authorities for introducing more football competitions.
He stressed that UEFA introduced a third-tier European club competition (UEFA Conference League) because the association wanted to make more money to the detriment of the players.
Thibaut Courtois who plays for Real Madrid, a club that is supporting the establishment of the failed European Super League, said UEFA and FIFA did not work against the Super League in favor of the players but for themselves.
The goalkeeper insisted that the three weeks summer break the players often get was not enough for the players to continue to play at the highest level.
He said: “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.
“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…
“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.
“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.
“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.”
🗣️ "They don't care about the players they just care about their pockets."— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) October 11, 2021
Thibaut Courtois accused UEFA and FIFA of prioritising money over player welfare after Belgium were beaten 2-1 by Italy in the Nations League third-place play-off. pic.twitter.com/0RbBu0Ux6h