Hazard retires from international football after Belgium boss was called ‘gutless’ for sticking with him
Eden Hazard has announced his retirement from international football following Belgium’s shocking group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The former Chelsea star made this announcement on social media around a week after Belgium were eliminated following their goalless draw against Croatia.
Hazard made his debut at the age of 17 back in 2008 but he struggled in Qatar. He wrote: “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”.
The Real Madrid winger earned 126 international caps, scoring 33 goals and captaining his country 56 times.
However, he played in a minor role during the World Cup campaign, coming on for the final three minutes in the match against the Croatians.
Hazard made 245 appearances for Chelsea between 2012 and 2019, helping the Stamford Bridge club to two Premier League titles and two Europa League wins.
Belgium team-mate Kevin De Bruyne tweeted: “What a journey it has been. Congratulations Capi. You’ll be missed!”
Last week, a report claimed that Belgium players felt that Roberto Martinez was ‘gutless’ for keeping faith in Hazard.
Martinez was ‘criticised’ for ‘showing too much loyalty’ to Hazard despite the player’s sub-par performances.
They felt that Hazard is ‘fading’ and Jeremy Doku or Leandro Trossard should have played ahead of him.
Hazard was also said to have been involved in a training ground bust-up after Belgium’s loss against Morocco. He reportedly clashed with De Bruyne and Jan Vertonghen.
Hazard acted to play down talk of this bust-up before Belgium faced Croatia.
“We had a good talk among the players,” he said. “A lot has been said. We talked for an hour about good things and less good things. Now we want to win against Croatia. We now have two days to prepare. We have to be ready.
“Nothing happened in the dressing room. Only the coach (Martinez) spoke. I spoke to Kevin De Bruyne, he does believe in the group.”
Hazard added: “To be fair I think we had a better chance to win four years ago.
“The team was better four years ago but still we have the quality to win games and to win the competition.”
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