Courtois vs. De Bruyne: Talent, Tension, and the Red Devils

Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois are two Belgian footballers who have carved their names into the hearts of fans worldwide. Both world-class players, have been instrumental in the success of the Belgian national team, nicknamed the “Red Devils.” However, their relationship has been a topic of discussion due to a past off-field incident and recent reported tensions. This article delves into their careers, playing styles, and the complexities surrounding their dynamic.

Star Power: A Look at Their Brilliance

Kevin De Bruyne: The Orchestrator

De Bruyne, a 33-year-old midfielder for Manchester City, is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world. His vision, passing range, and ability to control the tempo of the game are unmatched. He is a creative maestro, adept at unlocking defences with killer passes and threading the needle through tight spaces. De Bruyne is also a threat from set pieces and possesses a powerful long shot. His leadership qualities have seen him become the captain of the Belgian national team.

Thibaut Courtois: The Wall

Courtois, a 32-year-old goalkeeper for Real Madrid, is considered one of the best shot-stoppers in the world. Standing tall at 6’4″, he commands his area with authority and possesses exceptional reflexes. His agility allows him to make acrobatic saves, while his calmness under pressure inspires confidence in his backline. Courtois is also a skilled distributor, initiating attacks with his throws and starting counter-attacks quickly.

Beyond Individual Skills: Playing Styles and Team Chemistry

De Bruyne thrives in possession-based systems, dictating the play from a deeper midfield position. His ability to find teammates in dangerous positions with pinpoint passes is crucial for breaking down organized defenses. Courtois, on the other hand, excels in teams with a strong defensive structure. His ability to make crucial saves allows his team to take risks in attack.

While their individual styles complement each other on the national team, their on-field chemistry has been a subject of debate. Some argue that their contrasting styles haven’t fully clicked, leading to occasional disconnect between the midfield and defense. However, others point to their combined efforts in helping Belgium achieve a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup as proof of their effectiveness.

The Off-Field Incident and Reported Tensions

In 2014, a personal incident involving De Bruyne’s then-girlfriend and Courtois made headlines. While details remain private, it reportedly caused friction between the two players. Media outlets have recently suggested that this incident continues to cast a shadow, leading to a strained relationship that affects their communication on the pitch.

Both De Bruyne and Courtois have publicly downplayed these reports, emphasizing their professionalism and commitment to the national team. However, their reported absence from speaking terms during Belgium’s disappointing 2022 World Cup campaign has fueled speculation.

Coach Tedesco’s Role

The situation became more complex in 2024 when Belgium’s new coach, Domenico Tedesco, reportedly had a falling out with Courtois, leading to the goalkeeper’s exclusion from the Euro 2024 squad. De Bruyne, though disappointed, acknowledged the coach’s decision and expressed his focus on supporting the remaining goalkeepers.

Looking Ahead: Can They Overcome the Tensions?

The question of whether Courtois and De Bruyne can overcome their reported personal issues and perform at their best for Belgium remains unanswered. Here are some potential scenarios:

Reconciliation: If they manage to address the past and establish clear communication channels, their on-field chemistry could reach new heights. Their combined talent could propel Belgium back to the top of international football.

Professional Coexistence: Even if they don’t become close friends, they can choose to maintain professional courtesy and focus solely on achieving success for their national team.

Continued Tension: If the reported tensions persist, it could hinder Belgium’s performance, especially in crucial matches.

The future of their dynamic hinges on their willingness to put aside differences and prioritize their national team’s success. Their brilliance is undisputed, and a united De Bruyne and Courtois could be a force to be reckoned with on the international stage.


Q: Are Courtois and De Bruyne friends?

A: This is a complex one. Kevin De Bruyne’s ex-girlfriend allegedly had a relationship with Thibaut Courtois while they were both young players at Chelsea. This caused a rift between the two Belgians for a while. However, there haven’t been any recent reports of tension, and they seem to maintain a professional relationship with the Belgian national team. De Bruyne even acknowledged the importance of having Courtois available despite the “situation”.

Q: Why is Courtois not playing for Belgium at Euro 2024?

A: Courtois fell out with the new Belgian coach, Domenico Tedesco, last year. The goalkeeper felt disrespected and left the training camp. The tension hasn’t eased, and injuries hampered Courtois’ availability this season. Despite a strong Champions League final performance, Tedesco opted to leave him out of the Euro 2024 squad.

Q: What position does De Bruyne play?

A: De Bruyne is a midfielder, known for his exceptional vision, passing ability, and long-range shooting. He’s a key playmaker for Manchester City and Belgium.

Q: What position does Courtois play?

A: Courtois is the starting goalkeeper for Real Madrid and Belgium. He’s known for his world-class shot-stopping reflexes and commanding presence in the box.

Q: Have Courtois and De Bruyne ever played for the same club?

A: Yes, but not at the same time. Both were on Chelsea’s books while De Bruyne was on loan, but their paths never crossed on the pitch for the Blues.

Q: What clubs have Courtois and De Bruyne played for?

A: Courtois: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid (loan), Real Madrid De Bruyne: Genk, Chelsea (loan), Werder Bremen (loan), VfL Wolfsburg, Manchester City


Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois are two of the best Belgian footballers of their generation. Despite a well-publicized off-field incident in their youth, they appear to maintain a professional relationship. While their brilliance shines on different parts of the field, their success with Belgium and their respective clubs solidifies their place among the elite.

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