At this point naming Belgium as your dark-horse favorite to win the 2014 World Cup is hardly a daring prediction. Deeply talented, fit, young and in fantastic form, Diables Rouges are heading into Brazil with momentum.
There is, however, an emerging feud between goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet that could threaten to derail the Belgian train from its track.
Courtois, who is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea for a third successive season, wants Liverpool’s Mignolet to show him more respect. In an interview with Sport/Foot Magazine, Courtois claimed that Mignolet instigated a “personal attack” on him by questioning Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots’ as to why he was dropped.
“When someone says he’s been unfairly dropped as Belgium’s No.1 keeper I see it as a personal attack on me,” Courtois said.
“It shows you don’t accept your manager’s calls – and you have no respect for the first choice. He needs to show respect for whoever is currently in that role.”
Mignolet made the comments following his being handed the gloves in Belgium’s two most recent matches, defeats to Colombia and Japan. Courtois’ reaction to Mignolet’s disgust came swiftly and it wasn’t the first time the Atletico man went on the offensive. Earlier this month Courtois noted his disgust at not being backed by Mignolet.
“In Spain, I hear no goalkeeper saying they’re aiming for the place of Casillas,” he said. “Not De Gea, not Valdes, not Reina. It’s the opposite – they back Casillas. Simon can say whatever he wants, but I think I’ve already saved enough points for Belgium and I’m playing good games for Atletico. He has to stay humble and respectful.”
Both players have earned 14 caps for their country. In 23 La Liga matches this season Courtois has 42 saves, 12 clean sheets, conceding a league best 16 goals. For Liverpool this season, Mignolet has made 26 appearances in the league racking up 82 saves and 7 clean sheets while conceding 32 times.