Courtois set to miss Euro 2024 with ACL injury - sources

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Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said his team needs to hang in there following another serious injury after David Alaba, who went off in Madrid's 4-1 win over Villarreal with an ACL injury. (1:35)

Thibaut Courtois has ruled out returning to international duty in time for Euro 2024 as he recovers from injury while criticising Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco's handling of the row which saw the goalkeeper walk out on the national team earlier this year.

The Real Madrid keeper abruptly left the Belgium camp in June, ahead of a Euro qualifier with Estonia.

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Both he and Tedesco gave conflicting accounts of the reasons for his exit, with the coach saying Courtois was "offended" at being asked to share the captaincy with Romelu Lukaku.

Courtois then tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August in pre-season training with Real Madrid.

"Everything is going according to plan, even a little better than expected," Courtois said in an interview with Belgium's Sporza on Tuesday, when asked about his recovery.

"I would normally only be able to start walking after four months, but I've already been working on it for a week. I haven't had any setbacks. Now it's important to be patient.

"The club has made it very clear that they want me to recover 100% and certainly not make a comeback too early. I don't want to betray that trust. If I don't play any more games this season, that's okay.

"Because of the injury, there will be no European Championships for me. First I have to recover 100%, and then it's better not to put a date on it. If I'm lucky, I can play in May. But then you can never be 100% ready for a big tournament."

Courtois apologised for his decision to walk out on the national team after their 1-1 qualifying draw with Austria on June 17, but blamed Tedesco's attitude -- and the coach's handling of the captaincy issue -- for contributing to tensions between the pair.

"It was the wrong decision to leave after the match against Austria. I'd like to apologise to the team and especially the supporters," Courtois said.

"My decision had a small impact on me personally, but it was big for the group. It created unrest before the match in Estonia.

"It had nothing to do with the captaincy. The whole story is much more nuanced than that... If my departure was purely about the captaincy, I would have resigned in March [when Kevin De Bruyne was chosen]. Kevin captain? No problem. After that you had Romelu and I as vice-captains, with no hierarchy.

"During that week in question, I was the only one of the three captains present. And the national coach didn't speak to me once. One minute before training to ask how things were in Madrid, that's all. I felt like: something strange is going on here.

"Here in Madrid I get respect from everyone at the club. With [Belgium] I don't really feel that.... On the Saturday of the match, a few hours before kick-off, Tedesco said that Romelu was captain against Austria and I was captain against Estonia. Something snapped inside me. I couldn't handle it anymore.

"Tedesco gave me seven different versions for why Romelu was captain. Every time it was different... The coach made no effort to find a solution, but simply said that he would tell the press everything. He wanted to pressure me not to leave, and threaten me. It was a private conversation. That's a breach of trust between player and coach."

Courtois said he couldn't accept Tedesco's decision to go public on the row.

"He makes me laugh," Courtois said. "Few people, and very few coaches, are going to be honest with the press. Tedesco says he's honest, but that's not true... Again: I made a mistake by leaving, but as coach you should still try to keep an important player, instead of trying to set an example.

"Tedesco wanted to launch an attack on me. And what's more, the day after, things were leaked to the press, which I know came from his side."

Reports in the Belgian media claimed Courtois had suggested his teammates weren't good enough, making reference to players who had been relegated from the Premier League with Leicester.

"I never said some players are not up to par," Courtois told Sporza. "I've known guys like [Timothy] Castagne, [Youri] Tielemans and [Dennis] Praet for a long time... The only thing is, and I'm not afraid to say this: if you fall behind in the match against Austria and you have relegated players in the team, who have lost more matches than they've won, then it becomes difficult to turn that situation around.

"I'm not disparaging Leicester or some of the lads. That happens in football... In my first season at Real Madrid I conceded a lot of goals. But I'll say it: only two people knew what I had said about that. So someone wanted to paint me in a bad light."

Courtois said he wasn't ruling out a return to the national team in the future.

"When so much has happened and you have a breach of trust, you get to a point where it's difficult to get out of it. I don't know what solution there can be, because in a relationship you have to trust each other first. "I love playing for the national team so much.

"The World Cup and European Championships are the best thing there is for a footballer, apart from maybe a Champions League final. The door is absolutely not closed for me. I just know that I have to keep the focus on Real Madrid this season anyway."