Rumors of a crisis in Belgium’s locker room, which is at serious risk of being out of the second round of the World Cup in Qatar, have been stirring up the team’s atmosphere. This Tuesday, Hazard and Courtois went public to deny rumors of relationship problems between the athletes. But the goalkeeper and another character in the news, midfielder De Bruyne, already experienced a traumatic episode in 2014, which involved two betrayals.
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At the time, the midfielder was playing for Wolfsburg (Germany) and was dating Caroline Lijnen. But their relationship went into crisis after De Bruyne cheated on her with her best friend. Which eventually led to his involvement with Courtois, a teammate (and for a brief moment, Chelsea). The account was from Lijnen herself, in 2014, in an interview with the Belgian magazine “Story”, which covers the world of celebrities.
“In the summer of 2012, Kevin told me he hooked up with my best friend. I gave him a choice: either her or me. I was ready to give it another chance, but our relationship was never the same,” she said, then 21.
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According to Lijnen, she would not report under pressure from De Bruyne’s family, but a quote made to her in a book by the player motivated her to speak. The meeting with Courtois was in Madrid, when the goalkeeper was playing for Atlético de Madrid.
“Kevin thought the trip was a good idea, I asked him before. But something that was never supposed to happen happened. That night, Thibaut (Courtois) offered me what I never got in three years with Kevin. With Thibaut, I could talk about anything and he even cooked me a delicious meal. Kevin never did that for me. Kevin cheated on me and I thought “why shouldn’t I do that too?”.
At the time, the Belgian Federation was consulted on the matter, which was confirmed. But the official version is that the athletes got over it and “laughed together” about the situation. Today, players maintain other relationships: Courtois is engaged to model Misehl Gerzig, while De Bruyne is married to Michele Lacroix, with whom he has three children.
Hazard and Courtois deny problems
This Tuesday, Hazard and Courtois asked for the floor at the press conference to deny the news released during the week. According to them, a strong discussion would have taken place in the locker room after the 2-0 defeat by Morocco, which complicated the situation for the Belgians. The fight would have been broken up by Lukaku, but the bad weather would have started with De Bruyne’s comments that the current squad would be “too old” to have title chances.
Other reports, such as that of the Belgian broadcaster “RTL”, report that relations between the midfielder and Courtois are cold, as well as between Hazard and Trossard.
“The problem is that too many lies are being spread. A situation has been described that does not exist. As a group, we need to avoid negativity. Everything became clear yesterday. Everyone has openly expressed their opinions, now we need to take action on the pitch. We had a group talk, it was good, we spoke our minds to each other. We have to be honest and fight for each other on the field – said Courtois, this Tuesday.
Belgium needs to beat Croatia next Thursday to advance to the round of 16. If they tie, they will need Morocco to lose to Canada and still have goal difference. A loss eliminates the team.