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Real Madrid winger opens up on international retirement: “New generation deserves to play”



Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with HLN (h/t Daily Mail), Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard has spoken out on his international retirement stating that he had made his decision before the World Cup to pave the way for the ‘next generation’.

Hazard was the captain of the Belgium national team but hardly played at the World Cup. In fact, his call-up had attracted some criticism given that the winger had hardly been playing for Real Madrid prior to the tournament in Qatar.

Soon after the tournament was over for Belgium, Hazard announced his retirement from international football and has now explained that the decision was not brought about by his struggles at the World Cup.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Hazard also revealed the conversations he had had with Real Madrid Toni Kroos about international retirement, saying:

“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.”

The former Chelsea superstar also added that he did not really like it at the World Cup and felt the time was right for him to step down and make way for Belgium’s next generation.

“Meanwhile, 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,” he said.

Hazard’s struggles at Real Madrid have continued this season as well. The 31-year-old has hardly taken the field since the World Cup and the club are understood to be keen on parting ways with him this summer.

However, the Belgian international wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu and see out his contract that expires in 2024.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool monitoring 19-year-old Bundesliga wonderkid – Romano



Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

According to Fabrizio Romano, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all monitoring Bayer Leverkusen and Germany wonderkid Florian Wirtz.

After recovering from his ACL injury, the teenage sensation has been slowly working his way back to his best form. So far this term, Wirtz has managed to rack up a tally of two goals and six assists from 13 matches in all competitions.

The 19-year-old’s talent and potential have never been in question and hence it does not come as a surprise that elite clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Liverpool are all keeping tabs on the German international.

A versatile attacking midfielder, Wirtz is capable of playing anywhere in the final third of the pitch and backs up with top-notch end product. Be it as a false-nine or in a more withdrawn role, the youngster has excelled for Bayer Leverkusen, catching the attention of top teams.

Real Madrid, for their part, are also understood to be among Wirtz’s admirers. Given the situation surrounding Karim Benzema’s fitness and the lack of backup at the top, the youngster could be an option, as he has shown potential while operating through the middle.

But Barcelona also have a strong interest in the teenager with reports even suggesting that they have already made contact with his father to enquire about his situation.

At the same time, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a huge admirer of his fellow German and with Roberto Firmino on his way out, Wirtz could be lined up as a possible replacement.

However, Romano adds that the expectation is that Wirtz could stay at Bayer Leverkusen for one more year and depart Germany once the UEFA Euro 2024 is out of the way.

For now, there have been talks or negotiations with any clubs, but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool are all tracking Wirtz and his progress in Germany.

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