Eden Hazard retires from Belgium duty after World Cup disappointment

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Eden Hazard
PHOTO: AFP

Belgium will move on from their World Cup disappointment without talismanic winger Eden Hazard, who has retired from international football.

Eden Hazard has announced his retirement from international football in the wake of Belgium’s disappointing performance at the World Cup.

The Red Devils were undaunted in their opening 1-0 win over Canada, but a defeat to Morocco and a draw with Croatia saw them exit Group F.

Head coach Roberto Martinez, who led Belgium to the semi-finals in Russia four years earlier, confirmed his departure after that match.

Real Madrid winger Hazard has now also called time on his spell with the national team, announcing his decision on Instagram.

“Today turns the page… Thank you for your love. Thank you for your unique support,” he wrote.

“Thank you for all the happiness shared since 2008. I have decided to end my international career. The succession is ready. I will miss you.”

Hazard was part of a team dubbed Belgium’s “golden generation” alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois.

The former Chelsea star amassed 126 caps for his country and scored 33 goals, making his debut as a substitute against Luxembourg in 2008.

His first experience of an international tournament came at the 2014 World Cup, where Belgium progressed to the quarter-finals, and he skippered his country without Vincent Kompany at Euro 2016, where they again lost in the round of 16 – this time to Wales.

A 1-0 defeat to eventual champions France cut short their run in Russia four years ago and further quarter-final heartache was in store at the hands of Italy at last year’s rescheduled Euro 2020.

Belgium’s campaign in Qatar has been plagued by rumors of rifts in the camp, with Hazard himself suggesting the team’s best chance of success is in 2018 – a suggestion echoed by De Bruyne, who said the squad’s age was too old to compete.

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