Love scandal caused De Bruyne and Courtois to break up

The rift that exists in Belgium’s squad and has become even more evident throughout the World Cup in Qatar does not come from today. There are, for example, old stories of relationships that became almost unsustainable even among major cast stars. This is the case of Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois, characters in a love scandal that took place in Madrid almost ten years ago.

The 31-year-old Manchester City midfielder and the 30-year-old Real Madrid goalkeeper are from the same generation and have been in the world of football since they were young. They met at Chelsea and arrived practically together in the Belgian national team, initially building a good relationship. But everything changed after an episode involving the same woman.

The story goes back to the year 2013, when Caroline Lijnen, Kevin’s partner at the time, traveled to Madrid with some friends. In the Spanish capital, she met Courtois, who was playing for Atlético de Madrid on loan from Chelsea, and ended up staying with the goalkeeper.

According to Caroline, however, the story was not that simple. In an interview with Story Magazine, from Belgium, she said that she only stayed with Courtois after being betrayed by Kevin.

Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois during a game between Belgium and France, for the League of Nations, in 2021 - David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images - David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images
Image: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

“Kevin cheated on me. I didn’t say anything for months because I couldn’t because Kevin’s parents said they would sue me if I told my story. I was under pressure,” he said.

“In the summer of 2012, Kevin admitted to me that he had hooked up with my best friend. Still, I gave him the option: me or her. I was ready to give him one more chance, but after that, our relationship it was never the same,” he said.

Then came the trip to Madrid, when Caroline actually met and stayed with Courtois. “In one night of love with Courtois I received more than Kevin gave in three years of dating,” she acknowledged.

“With Thibaut [Courtois], I could chat about anything and everything, he even cooked a delicious meal for me. Kevin never did that for me,” she lamented. “Kevin tricked me and I thought, ‘why shouldn’t I do the same?’, Caroline added, confirming the affair with Courtois.

According to a report by the Daily Mail, an England newspaper, a source from the Belgian national team said years later that both got over the affair and even started to have fun with the story. There are other sources, however, that claim that the relationship between the two was quite compromised after the episode.

Dirty laundry in public

Belgium’s problematic situation took on even greater proportions after the 2-0 defeat by Morocco, in the second round of the World Cup in Qatar. Experienced defender Jan Vertonghen, 35, has taken the pain of recent statements made by midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard.

In a post-game interview with the Belgian newspaper Sporza, the veteran mocked the lines of De Bruyne, who claimed that Belgium has an “aging” team, with little chance of winning the Cup in 2022, and Hazard, who identified a more slow after the victory over Canada in the opener.

“A lot of things are going through my head that I shouldn’t say, or at least not outside the dressing room. We probably also attack badly because we’re too old, aren’t we? Something like that will always be said,” said Vertonghen, in the mixed zone.

Belgium returns to the field tomorrow (1) to face Croatia and needs a victory to advance to the round of 16 without depending on the result of the other game, between Canada and Morocco. The Belgians have three points, against four of the Croatians and Moroccans. Canadians are still zeroed in Qatar and hold the lantern.

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