Eden Hazard retires from international football after Belgium’s disastrous World Cup campaign
Belgian footballer Eden Hazard, who is currently plying his trade with Real Madrid at the club level, has announced his retirement from international football. The decision came a few days after Belgium were knocked out of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in the group stages, an outcome that came as a shocker for many fans as they are ranked No. 2.
“A page turns today… Thank you for your love. 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,” Hazard said on social media.
Hazard featured in all the three games Belgium played in Qatar 2022 and failed to make his presence felt. The former Chelsea star was one of the pivotal forced behind his country’s greatest-ever World Cup run in 2018, where they reached the semi-finals in Russia. Despite losing to France in the semi-final, they defeated England in the third-place play off to go back home with a bronze.
Hazard, who made his Belgium debut back in 2008, went on to play 126 matches for his country and scored 33 goals. At the age of 31, despite having plenty of good years left, Hazard called it the right decision to move on as he would be turning 35 by the time the next World Cup comes up and his fitness may or may not permit him to play at that level by then.
Hazard was named Belgian Footballer of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019, while also winning the prestigious award for Belgium’s Sportsman of the Year in 2018. The Belgian moved from French side Lille to Chelsea in 2012 and became one of the standout stars in the Premier League, where he made 245 appearances for the Blues, while scoring 85 goals.
He won two Premier League titles, two Europa Leagues, one FA Cup and one EFL Cup with Chelsea. He then got his big money move to Real Madrid in 2019, where he lifted La Liga twice, won two Spanish Super Cups and the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League.
However, his dream move to Real Madrid has not transpired thus far in the way he would’ve wanted as injuries have reduced him to just 72 appearances for the Galacticos while he is in his fourth season with the club, scoring just seven goals.