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TERMINABO; HEARTS 1 CELTIC 0; Dedryck's Celts career KO'd as he downs tools before AEK Euro crunch; Hoops are a Ded loss raps agent.

Byline: Gordon Waddell

Dedryck Boyata will down tools and refuse to play for Celtic after a war of words erupted between the club and his agent.

The Belgian World Cup star is out of the Champions League showdown with AEK Athens on Tuesday.

Angry agent Jacques Lichtenstein has claimed the 27-year-old will no longer risk himself for the club and PAGE 73 FROM BACK PAGE slated Celtic for going back on promises in the wake of rejecting a PS9million bid from Fulham.

Sevilla and Lazio are waiting in the wings but a quietly seething Brendan Rodgers angrily accused the agent of disrupting his side's build-up for the 1-0 defeat to Hearts.

It was claimed Boyata was absent through a back injury and illness but Lichtenstein said: "It's difficult, it's impossible for this kind of pain to go away in less than a month.

"Entering the last 10 months of his contract, everyone understands he cannot put his career at risk by playing at 95 per cent, which a footballer does when covered by two or three years of contract.

"On January 1 Dedryck will sign elsewhere by being free without reporting anything to Celtic."

Rodgers admitted Boyata won't fly to Athens but revealed Lichtenstein sparked a scene on Friday then refused to stay for talks.

The Celtic boss said: "The club have been in negotiation with Dedryck from last season. It was pretty clear we wanted to keep him. Rightly for him he wanted to wait until after the World Cup to see how it all went. Different with Tom Rogic, he wanted it signed and sealed before he went.

"That was the ongoing discussions back then, put on hold because he was away. Now there have been one or two offers for him.

"Dedryck's agent turned up yesterday at the training ground. He wanted to speak to me at 10 o'clock. I've got a meeting with players at half past 10 concentrating on this game and I said I'd meet him after training once I'd done my work.

"Obviously when I came back after training he wasn't there."

Rodgers was asked if he believed Boyata's problems were physical or mental and he added: "There are a couple of issues medically and at this stage it is difficult for players. I respect that but he's not disruptive."

Lichtenstein claimed Celtic haven't responded to requests to thrash out Boyata's future after knocking back a deal worth PS50,000 a week to the player from Fulham.

He said: "Celtic are a big club but don't behave like one. Phone calls have gone unanswered. Meeting requests have been refused.

"Dedryck is disappointed because he was made promises that have not been kept. Being angry is one thing, being disappointed is more serious."

CAPTION(S):

EURO BLOW Rodgers and Boyata at odds

YELL BOY goal hero Kyle Lafferty celebrates Jambos' victory as full-time whistle is blown

BLAST AT CELTS . Lichtenstein

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 12, 2018
Words:486
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