THIBAUT COURTOIS is being urged to stop ‘whining’ about the number of games on the calendar for top-level football.
Retired Netherlands ace Rafael van der Vaart gave the Belgium goalkeeper a ticking off after he slated the need for a Uefa Nations League third-place play-off.
The Real Madrid stopper, 29, accused Europe’s top football authority of putting profit before players’ wellbeing.
However, Van der Vaart, who has 109 Netherland international caps, dismissed the former Chelsea star’s argument.
Appearing on Dutch sports show Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, the former Tottenham playmaker, 38, said: “I think it’s silly.
“You have six months of vacation. You only play football, a club pays you a lot of money, of course, the match schedule is very busy, but we have all been through that.
“Competitions are the most fun there is. They are whining.”
Courtois refused to back down in the lead-up to the clash for the Nations League’s third spot in which Belgium were beaten 2-1 by Italy.
And the Bernabeu star, who played 14 international games from 2020 to 2021, said players were being treated like ‘robots’ within the current set-up.
Courtois, who 61 times last season, told Sky Sports: “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. If we never say anything it will be always the same.
“In the end, top players will get injured and injured and injured. We are not robots.
“It’s just more and more games and less rest for us.
“This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it. We just play it because for UEFA it’s extra money.”
And the Madrid keeper told Belgian publication Nieuwsblad: “We are playing for nothing.
“To arrive third or fourth in the Nations League is not interesting for anyone.”
Courtois is among the sports figures who have criticised new Uefa contests such as the Nations League and Europa Conference and Fifa’s unpopular proposals for two-yearly World Cup and Euros tournaments.
And his views on the necessity of a Nations League third-place play-off have been echoed by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher who describe the match as ‘an absolute waste of time’.
However, Van der Vaart gave Courtois’s comments concern the risk of player injury and fatigue short shrift.
And the former Spurs forward claimed goalkeepers have little reason to highlight tiredness with the Dutchman suggesting their performance involves ‘just standing there a bit’.
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