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END OF AN ERA AS BELGIUM STAR HANGS UP HIS BOOTS

Belgium star Eden Hazard announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday, days after the team crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage.END OF AN ERA AS BELGIUM STAR HANGS UP HIS BOOTS

The Real Madrid forward, 31, made the announcement on social media.

 

Belgium captain Eden Hazard has retired from international football following Belguim's shock early exit in Qatar. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Belgium captain Eden Hazard has retired from international football following Belguim’s shock early exit in Qatar. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

 

“A page turns today,” he posted on Instagram. “Thank you for your unparalleled support. Thank you for all this happiness shared since 2008. I have decided to put an end to my international career. The succession is ready. I will miss you.” The Belgium team tweeted in reply, “All the best, captain”.

Hazard, who played as an attacking midfielder or winger, made his Belgium debut in 2008 as a teenager and collected a total of 126 caps, scoring 33 goals.

He was the standard-bearer of Belgium’s much-vaunted “golden generation”, which reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The team are still ranked second in the world by FIFA but many of their players are in their 30s and they finished third in Group F behind Morocco and Croatia.

Hazard, who was the team’s skipper, made a surprise admission during the tournament in Qatar, saying the team’s best chance to win the World Cup had come and gone.

The forward moved from French club Lille to Chelsea in 2012 and became one of the standout stars in the Premier League, winning the trophy twice, on his way to being discussed as one of the best football players in the world.

He sealed a big-money move to Real Madrid in 2019 but, hampered by injury, has struggled to repeat the form he showed in England.

Belgium were stalked by rumours of in-fighting in Qatar and a number of the country’s other stars including Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois have likely played their final World Cup matches.

In the aftermath of their exit, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez announced he was leaving his job.

END OF AN ERA AS BELGIUM STAR HANGS UP HIS BOOTS
END OF AN ERA AS BELGIUM STAR HANGS UP HIS BOOTS

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