Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has taken aim at football’s authorities again, insisting their Nations League third place play-off against Italy was just a ‘money game’.

Roberto Martinez’s side were beaten 2-1 by the Italians on Sunday with goals by Nicolo Barella and Domenico Berardi sealing third place in the UEFA competition behind champions France and runners up Spain.

Real Madrid stopper Courtois was already furious that Belgium had to take part in the match, describing it as a ‘useless game’ in the build up last week.

And he doubled down on that assessment at full time on Sunday, insisting UEFA only staged the pointless third place play-off because it’s ‘extra money’ for them.

‘This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it,’ said the former Chelsea and Atletico star.

‘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.’

Courtois also slammed football’s governing bodies for their plans to revamp the international calendar, warning it will lead to players getting injured much more frequently.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who is now FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, wants to stage a biennial World Cup but has been met by opposition from domestic leagues across Europe.

Courtois is one of those who is against the proposals, claiming ‘they just care about their pockets’ and ‘nobody cares’ about the wellbeing of players.

‘They [UEFA] made an extra trophy [UEFA Conference League]… it is always the same,’ he added.

‘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.’


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