Belgium captain Hazard RETIRES from international football after disastrous World Cup campaign
- Hazard calls time on Belgium career
- Belgium went out in 2022 World Cup group stage
- Retires with 126 caps to his name
WHAT HAPPENED? The decision was reportedly made after his nation's elimination from the tournament following a 0-0 draw with Croatia on matchday three. Hazard featured in all three group games but failed to score as Belgium finished third in Group F behind Morocco and Croatia, both of whom have gone onto reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
WHAT THEY SAID?: Hazard confirmed his retirement in a message to his followers on Instagram, which reads: “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 BIGGER PICTURE: Hazard's announcement puts an end to an international career that totalled 126 games between 2008 and 2022 - a period in which he registered 33 goals. The 31-year-old's retirement marks the beginning of the end for Belgium's so-called 'Golden Generation', as manager Roberto Martinez announced he would be leaving his post immediately after their group stage exit.
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WHAT NEXT FOR HAZARD? Retiring from international football at just 31-years-of-age will allow Hazard to focus on matters at club level, with the Belgian failing to amass more than six goal contributions a season (four goals, two assists in 2020-21) since his move to Real Madrid from Chelsea back in 2019.