Thibaut Courtois says Belgium’s players are “hungry” to get their hands on a first-ever World Cup in Qatar next year.
Belgium, ranked number one in the world, finished third at the 2018 tournament, beating England in a play-off after they had lost to eventual winners France at the semi-final stage.
Roberto Martinez’s side started their qualification campaign for next year’s competition with a 3-1 win over Wales, though they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Czech Republic on Saturday.
Courtois is no stranger to silverware, having won both the Premier League and LaLiga twice, as well as the Europa League back in 2012.
The Real Madrid goalkeeper desperately wants to add the World Cup to that haul – and he is in no doubt his team-mates share his desire.
“I’m very hungry,” he told a media conference ahead of Belgium taking on Belarus on Tuesday. “The prizes you are yet to win are the ones you want to win the most.
Gym days. pic.twitter.com/S5vXQhSydG
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) March 28, 2021
“The Euros, a World Cup and the Champions League are the ones I haven’t won yet. But I think all the guys in the squad are very hungry to play for these prizes.
“Every player is hungry to win those titles, you see that in every team. I have experienced that at Real, the adrenaline that you feel when you win something is like a drug you want to keep on taking.
“In a season, you don’t get around to actually winning a trophy that often, so in every final and ahead of every tournament, that hunger is really present.”
After a difficult start to his Madrid career upon joining from Chelsea in 2018, Courtois has been one of Los Blancos’ most consistent performers over the past two seasons.
He has kept 11 clean sheets in LaLiga this term – a tally bettered only by Jan Oblak and Yassine Bounou – while only those two and Marc-Andre ter Stegen have a better save percentage than Courtois’ 72.3 per cent of goalkeepers who have played more than three games.
Courtois has been regularly praised by boss Zinedine Zidane for his game-saving heroics, and the 28-year-old believes a number of tweaks to his game have helped him to become a more “complete goalkeeper”.
“I think I’ve grown in possession, playing with my feet,” he said. “At Madrid, with Zidane, we need to play and pass under pressure. I have improved a lot in that.
“Of course, I’m also more experienced now. I read situations a bit better and I’ve gotten stronger mentally as well.
“It’s a combination of all those things. I’m becoming more complete as a goalkeeper, but that is something you need to keep working on.
“It’s an evolution, you are always evolving in football.”
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