Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has withdrawn from the Belgium squad for their friendlies against Italy and Spain. The 29-year-old, who was not involved in full training with his country on Tuesday or Wednesday, was the subject of a club-versus-country row during the previous international break when he played in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel despite assertions from City boss Manuel Pellegrini that he was unfit because of a calf injury. There will no repeat of those arguments this month, though, after Belgium confirmed he had left the squad and been replaced by Anderlecht midfielder Steven Defour.
In October, Kompany was named in the Belgium squad despite missing five successive fixtures for his club side because of injury, and Pellegrini had declared he was not fit enough to feature in the games against Andorra or Israel. However, despite missing out against Andorra when his international colleagues booked their Euro 2016 qualification, Belgium boss Marc Wilmots started Kompany in the fixture against Israel to provoke Pellegrini’s ire.
“I was not pleased because we sent Vincent with some medical report that he was not able to play but, as the manager of Belgium said, he can do what he wants in the international break,” the Chilean stated when Kompany returned for club duty. “He can use the players and he wanted to use him.
“But for me, when you don’t send a player to the national squad and you cannot use him for your club, I think the other sense must be the same. If a player didn’t play the last three games for his club he cannot play for the national squad.
“But these are the rules. I think some day clubs will protest about that.”
Kompany was an unused substitute in City’s next game against Bournemouth and Pellegrini denied there was rift with his player after he started the Champions League clash with Sevilla on the bench. The center back was restored to the starting line-up for the Manchester derby and has played in each of the Barclays Premier League and Champions League fixtures since.
However, he was not involved in full training on Tuesday with Belgium due to the fact he was part of a recovery session having played against Aston Villa two days earlier. Kompany was then absent from the group which trained on Wednesday too and Wilmots said he was “following an individual program of rehabilitation indoors”.
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