Eden Hazard, the 31-year-old Belgian playmaker, has announced his retirement from international football.
Hazard, an offensive midfielder or winger, debuted for Belgium at the age of 17 in 2008 and went on to gain 126 caps, scoring 33 goals and providing 36 assists.
His decision comes after Belgium was eliminated in the group stages of the World Cup.
Hazard was a member of the side that reached the World Cup semi-finals, losing 1-0 to France, and then defeating England to finish third.
He made his debut against Luxembourg, coming in as a substitute to become his country’s seventh-youngest player. He went on to play in three World Cups, two European Championships, and lead the squad 56 times.
Hazard started all three World Cup games in Qatar, but Belgium only scored once, in a 1-0 victory against Canada. Morocco defeated them 2-0, and Croatia drew 0-0.
Hazard joined Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019 for an estimated £150 million. He was at Stamford Bridge for seven years, winning the Premier League twice, the FA Cup and EFL Cup once each, and two Europa League crowns.
His time in Spain has been plagued by injuries, but since his arrival, Real Madrid has won two La Liga championships and the Champions League, despite the fact that Hazard was an unused substitute in the final against Liverpool in May.
This season, he has only made six appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s club.
“A page turns today,” said the Real Madrid player. “Thank you for your love [and] for your unparalleled support.”
He added on social media: “Thank you for all this happiness since 2008. I have decided to put an end to my international career. The succession is ready. I will miss you.”
His Belgium team-mate Kevin De Bruyne tweeted: “What a journey it has been. Congratulations, Capi. You’ll be missed!”
Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi called Hazard “legendary” on his Instagram page, while keeper Simon Mignolet added: “Thanks for all those amazing moments, Eden.”
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