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Eden Hazard retires from international soccer after Belgium group stage exit

Eden Hazard has announced his retirement from international soccer after Belgium coach Roberto Martinez was criticized for sticking with him.


Belgium star Eden Hazard announced his retirement from international soccer on Wednesday. The announcement comes just about a week after Belgium’s shocking group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Hazard wrote on social media: “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 next generation is ready. I will miss you”.

Eden Hazard’s international career and role in Qatar

Making his debut at the age of 17 in 2008, Hazard made 126 appearances for Belgium, captaining 56 times and with only Romelu Lukaku scoring more goals than Hazard’s 33. In the 2014 World Cup in Russia, he and the Belgium team finished third.

In the World Cup in Qatar this year though, Hazard played a minor role. Belgium were knocked out of the group stage, finishing behind Morocco and Croatia in Group F. In their loss to Croatia, Hazard came on just for the final three minutes.

Martinez “gutless” for his faith in Hazard

A report was released last week that claimed some of the Belgium players thought that manager Roberto Martinez was “gutless” for keeping Hazard around. It said they thought that Hazard was “fading” and that Jeremy Doku or Leandro Trossard should have been ahead of him.

The possibility of his retirement from international soccer was already swirling around the rumor pool as Hazard has not looked quite as in shape as he was in his Chelsea days, neither for Real Madrid nor for Belgium.

Martinez also announced he would be leaving his role as the Belgium head coach. Belgium are now expected to fill his two roles as technical director and head coach separately, with Netherlands head coach Lous van Gaal as a potential candidate for coaching duties.

Goodbye, Hazard

At 31 years old, Hazard will not be part of Belgium’s attempts to qualify for the 2024 Euros or the 2026 World Cup. It is a bit of a disappointing exit without recent successes to account for, but his overall success for the team will be remembered.

Hazard will still play for Real Madrid, and hopefully be able to go out on a higher note when he retire from domestic soccer.


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