Chelsea and Belgium stopper Thibaut Courtois has insisted he never intended to 'mock the height' of England's Jordan Pickford after criticising the Everton keeper for conceding to Adnan Januzaj in the group stages.
Following Belgium's 1-0 World Cup victory over the Three Lions, Pickford was singled out for criticism for being too short, a point which Courtois himself appeared to suggest as he claimed his height advantage would have ensured Januzaj's shot was saved.
He had told Voetball24: "The goalkeeper is 10cm smaller than me. I would have caught it. He was too busy throwing his legs in the air.”
Courtois's response caused an immediate reaction from Pickford following his penalty shootout heroics, but the Blues keeper has since looked to quash any suggestion of having poked fun of the England number one's height.
After Belgium's 2-1 quarter final victory over Brazil, Coutrois told the BBC: “This thing about Jordan Pickford, I want to make it clear because I heard a lot of stuff, I never mocked his height.
"I want to make that clear, because I would never mock the height of a goalkeeper. I think that he's a great goalkeeper, he proved that last year.
"I only said that, because he got a touch, I would have saved it because I am 15cm taller, but I never mocked his height because I know he is a great goalkeeper. I want to make that clear," he added.
Soo far Courtois is winning the Real Madrid goalkeeper audition— Rk (@RkFutbol) July 6, 2018
While Courtois is excelling on the world stage in Russia, his future at Stamford Bridge is coming under question after the 26-year-old continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid - a city where he has strong family ties to.
The Belgium stopper is being discussed as one of the goalkeepers expected to be part of the stopper swap as Roma's Alisson has become of interest to Chelsea following Madrid's interest in the former Atletico man.