Kevin De Bruyne has sent his Belgium teammate Eden Hazard an emotional message after the Real Madrid attacker retired from international football.
Hazard, 31, has called time on his 14 years playing for the Belgian national side.
He made 126 appearances, scoring 33 goals and providing 36 assists.
The decision comes after the Red Devils’ disappointing 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign, in which they exited in the group stages.
The Madrid forward posted on his Instagram, confirming his retirement from international football, saying:
“A page turns today… Thank you for your love. Thank you for your unending support. Thanks for all the happiness shared since 2008. Decided to end my international career. The succession is ready. I will miss you guys…”
Hazard’s Belgian compatriot, De Bruyne, has paid tribute to his former captain, saying on Twitter:
“What a journey it has been. Congratulations Capi. You’ll be missed!”
What a journey it has been. Congratulations Capi. You’ll be missed!
Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard have long been teammates in the national side.
The Manchester City midfielder made his debut in 2010, two years after the former Chelsea attacker started his international career.
The duo were part of Belgium’s golden generation in a squad that also boasted Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, and Jan Vertonghen.
The Red Devils made it to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, Euro 2016, and Euro 2020.
They also finished third at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
However, the Belgian’s demise in Qatar led to manager Roberto Martinez’s departure and now Eden Hazard.
Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Vertonghen had to be separated by Lukaku after a bust-up
Belgium’s FIFA World Cup campaign in Qatar was one to forget as they were one of the strongest sides to underachieve.
They started the tournament in Group F with a nervy 1-0 victory over minnows Canada.
However, they then suffered a deserved 2-0 defeat to Morocco and a disappointing 0-0 draw with Croatia.
It was the first time the Red Devils had exited the World Cup in the group stages since 1998.
However, off the field, there were rumors of in-fighting within the Belgian squad.
All the best, captain. #MerciEden
According to RTL Sport, Lukaku had to play peacemaker when Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Vertonghen were involved in a scuffle.
This was after their demoralizing defeat to Morocco, with the trio said to have been pushing and shoving as tensions boiled over.
De Bruyne remarked before the tournament that the squad at Martinez’s disposal was too old to win it.
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