Van der Vaart tells Courtois to 'stop whining' about number of games in the football calendar 1 month ago

Van der Vaart tells Courtois to 'stop whining' about number of games in the football calendar

"Competitions are the most fun there is. They are whining."

Rafael van der Vaart has told Thibaut Courtois to 'stop whining' about the number of games in the football calendar.

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The Dutchman has taken issue with the Real Madrid man's comments in which he claimed that the UEFA Nations League third-placed play-off was simply a 'money game'.

Belgium were beaten 2-1 by Italy in Sunday's third-placed decider - with Courtois playing the full 90 minutes in goal.

The goalkeeper slammed UEFA for prioritising money over player welfare, but Van der Vaart was quick to downplay his claim.

"I think it's silly," Van der Vaart said during an appearance on Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) as a pundit for Netherlands against Gibraltar, via Voetbalmagazine.

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"You then 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."

Speaking ahead of the third-placed play-off, Courtois likened players to 'robots' in the current system.

Since the start of the season, Courtois has made 10 appearances for Real Madrid and four for Belgium. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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"This game is just a money game and we have to be honest about it," he said. "We just play it because for UEFA, it's extra money."

He added: "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.

"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 any more. If we never say anything it will be always the same."

Van der Vaart also suggested that a goalkeeper, of all players, cannot point to tiredness as "it's standing there a bit."

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