Manchester City star leads Belgium's call for the Euro

BRUSSELS.- The midfielder of Manchester CityKevin De Bruyne will lead the rejuvenated Belgian team, which will include Axel Witsel, who has returned from retirement, at next month's European Championships.

De Bruyne and Witsel are part of the 25-player list announced by coach Domenico Tedesco on Tuesday. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is preparing for the Champions League final, is not there.

Defender Maxim De Cuyper, who won the Belgian league with Club Brugge last weekend, is the only rookie.

De Bruyne and Witsel are part of the considered Belgian golden generation. De Bruyne's presence was expected, but Witsel was a surprise after Tedesco left him out last year.

But Tedesco said Witsel's good performance with Atlético Madrid convinced him that the 35-year-old midfielder was the right choice. The coach traveled to Spain to meet with the player and talk about his return to the national team. There were no hard feelings and Witsel immediately agreed to return.

“First of all it's about quality,†Tedesco said. “There is no doubt that he is a player of great quality. We need him, he is an experienced player who can be with young players. Playing or not, we feel good about him.â€

Courtois case:

Tedesco acknowledged that Courtois is not ready for Euro 2024, which begins on June 14 in Germany. The coach and player have been in conflict since they fell out last year and the goalkeeper announced in December that he would miss the Euros.

Tedesco replaced Roberto Martínez as head of Belgium in February 2023 and since then he has not lost any game.

Belgium will face Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine in Group E. The country's best finish in the tournament was second in 1980.

Tedesco can still modify his list before June 7, when teams must submit their squad to UEFA with a minimum of 23 players and a maximum of 27. He said he will add two “young†players. € extra to practice equipment.