Real Madrid outcast Eden Hazard explains why he ‘didn’t like’ playing for Belgium at 2022 World Cup & when he made international retirement call

Eden Hazard Belgium 2022 World CupGetty
  • Forward lacking game time at club level
  • Still captained his country in Qatar
  • Walking away after earning 126 caps

WHAT HAPPENED? The 32-year-old forward once again took on captaincy duties for his country in Qatar, with Roberto Martinez keeping faith with a proven performer despite seeing him make just seven appearances at club level this season. While Hazard was happy to escape his problems at Santiago Bernabeu when heading off the Middle East, he accepts that a younger generation of talent would have been more deserving of minutes than he was.

WHAT THEY SAID: Hazard has told HLN: “New guys knocked on the door with the national team. Not playing at Real, then joining the Red Devils and playing football. I didn't like that, especially because the new generation deserves to play.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Hazard took his tally of international caps to 126 when gracing another major tournament, and that is where his haul will end after deciding to retire from duty with his country. Confirming that decision and when it was taken, the former Chelsea star added: “I knew for some time that I would stop after the World Cup. The performance in Qatar was not decisive for my decision. Of course it is a pity how it turned out, but my decision was made in advance. It was just time to stop. I first started thinking about it after the European Championships. I had done my best to be fit in time after my ankle injury. Unfortunately, I couldn't play in the quarter-final loss to Italy and that really made a mental difference. I also play football in Madrid with Toni Kroos. He quit the German national team two years ago and he told me that when others have international commitments, he could take advantage of that time to enjoy with his family.”


Eden Hazard Belgium 2022Getty Images

Eden Hazard Real Madrid 2022-23Getty

WHAT NEXT? Hazard formed part of Belgium’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’, but he walks away from the international scene with no major honours at that level to his name and with serious questions being asked of the direction his club career is heading after enduring four largely frustrating seasons in Spain.