Kevin De Bruyne to captain Belgium at EURO 2024, Witsel returns from retirement

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is set to captain a revitalized Belgium team in the upcoming European Championship.

Joining him will be Atletico Madrid ace Axel Witsel, who had previously retired but is now returning to the squad.

Coach Domenico Tedesco revealed a list of 25 players on Tuesday, which included De Bruyne and Witsel. However, Thibaut Courtois, the Real Madrid goalkeeper who is currently getting ready for the Champions League final, was not on the list.

Maxim De Cuyper, the defender who recently won the Belgian league with Club Brugge, was the sole addition to the team.

De Bruyne and Witsel are the only part of the group of talented Belgian players known as the “golden generation” still actively playing in the national team. While De Bruyne’s inclusion was anticipated, Witsel’s presence came as a shock following his exclusion from the first squad by Tedesco last year. Shortly after, Witsel declared his departure from the national team and did not participate in the qualifiers.

According to Tedesco, Witsel’s recent impressive performances at Atletico Madrid were the deciding factor in the 35-year-old midfielder being chosen. Tedesco personally went to Spain to meet with Witsel and discuss his return. The coach mentioned that there were no negative emotions involved and Witsel promptly accepted the offer to come back.

According to Tedesco, the most important aspect is the level of quality. It is undeniable that he is a top-notch player. Our team requires him, as he brings valuable experience and can mentor the younger players. Whether he is on the field or not, his presence gives us a sense of confidence.

Witsel’s value has been enhanced by his ability to play both in midfield and defense, showcasing his versatility.

According to Tedesco, the decision to switch to a central defender role has had a significant impact. He believes that if he had continued playing as a number six, he would not have made it to the squad today. Tedesco emphasizes the importance of transparency in his decision-making process.

According to Tedesco, Courtois will not be prepared for the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament in Germany as he has just recovered from an injury. The two men have had a disagreement since last year, and Courtois publicly stated in December that he will not be participating in the Euros.

According to Tedesco, Courtois is the one who knows his body the most.

In February 2023, Tedesco took over as the manager of Belgium, replacing Roberto Martinez. Since then, he has maintained an unbeaten record as the head of the Red Devils.

In Group E, Belgium will be competing against Slovakia, Romania, and Ukraine. The highest achievement for Belgium in the continental championship was finishing as the runner-up in 1980.

Prior to the June 7 cut-off date, teams are able to make changes to their squad. UEFA requires a roster of 23 to 26 players, and Tedesco plans to add two additional “young” players as training partners for the Euro preparation.

According to Tedesco, he has been closely monitoring De Cuyper, who is known for his left foot. However, the defender has not yet been chosen due to the presence of tough competition.

According to Tedesco, the current circumstances have shifted slightly and the doors are now open. It is our responsibility to select the top-performing individuals.

At the beginning, the coach, Tedesco, decided to include Romelu Lukaku and Lois Openda as strikers instead of Michy Batshuayi. According to Tedesco, it was not logical to have Batshuayi in the team when there were other players like Charles de Ketelaere, Dodi Lukebakio, and Leandro Trossard who could also play in his position.

According to Tedesco, there was no need for Belgium to acquire a third striker.


Belgium’s squad:

Goalkeepers: Matz Sels (Nottingham Forest), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thomas Kaminski (Luton).

Defenders: Wout Faes (Leicester), Timothy Castagne (Fulham), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht), Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Thomas Meunier (Trabzonspor), Maxim De Cuyper (Club Brugge)

Midfielders: Aster Vranckx (Wolfsburg), Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa), Orel Mangala (Lyon), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Arthur Vermeeren (Atletico Madrid), Amadou Onana (Everton)

Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Roma), Charles De Ketelaere (Atalanta), Jeremy Doku (Manchester City), Lois Openda (Leipzig), Leandro Trossard (Arsenal), Johan Bakayoko (PSV Eindhoven), Dodi Lukebakio (Sevilla), Yannick Carrasco (Al-Shabab)

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