Chelsea’s Courtois close to both explosions in Brussels attacks
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has revealed he was near both explosions in the terror attacks that killed 31 people in Brussels on Tuesday.
The first attack took place at about 7am GMT, when twin blasts at Zaventem airport. That was followed an hour later by another explosion at Maelbeek metro station, near EU headquarters.
Courtois was in the Belgian capital on international duty and was close enough to both attacks to hear the bombs go off.
"I was staying at the Grand Plaza in Zaventem when the bomb exploded at the airport," Courtois explained.
"I was on my way to the center of Brussels. I heard a noise but I couldn’t imagine that it might have been a bomb. Then I heard the news on the radio.
"When I drove to the city center, I was there 10 minutes before the second bomb exploded on the underground. Strangely, I was close by on both occasions.
"Chelsea phoned me. We had three days off and I usually go home to my family in Spain so I might have been at the airport. Fortunately I wasn’t. I have told Chelsea not to worry."
Belgium were scheduled to host Portugal in Brussels on Tuesday in a Euro 2016 warm-up game but that match will now take place in Leiria, in central Portugal, instead.
Courtois expects it to be an emotional occasion and says he and his Belgian team-mates are determined to win to honor the victims of the terror attacks.
Courtois said: "Obviously it will be special match after it was moved to Portugal. We will try to win for the victims. We will focus on the match and show that we are not afraid."