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Roberto Martinez rules out Eden Hazard making a U-turn on international retirement



Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Eden Hazard’s official retirement from international football last month did not come as a surprise to many. After all, the Belgian had been struggling for form for several years and had endured a torrid World Cup.

Yet, one could not help but feel that the 31-year-old’s decision was spontaneous and premature. Considering the world-class player that he was in the Premier League not too long ago, one would have expected him to be the protagonist of his country for at least another World Cup.

Former Belgium manager Roberto Martinez recently gave an interview to HLN about his departure from the national team setup during which he had some interesting words on Hazard’s situation and decision to retire. Here are the snippets from his interview as relayed by AS.

Martinez first addressed Hazard’s reduced game-time and Real Madrid and went on to reveal why the forward’s retirement did not come as a surprise to him.

“I can’t control the fact that Hazard doesn’t play in his club. His retirement wasn’t a surprise. Eden has two passions: his family and football. In one of those passions, he has suffered enormously in the last two years. He had never had injuries before.”

Since his international debut in 2008, Hazard has scored a total of 33 goals for his country across 126 appearances. Further, he has also assisted 36 goals. Martinez emphasised on the same aspect and said that the player’s name would be written in gold in his country’s history.

“He was an incredible player for the Red Devils, we must appreciate that. There were already big names above number 10 on the t-shirts, but he has written stories with gold letters in his position. He made the national team a better institution.”

Martinez was quizzed about a possible return to the National Team for the Real Madrid winger. However, the manager outright declined any such possibility and revealed why it would not happen.

“No. Eden is a team player. I don’t think he will return for a tournament for which he didn’t qualify on the field. Then it would also hinder someone who did it.”

Finally, the former Everton coach spoke his heart out and revealed one possibility which would serve as the perfect farewell for Hazard from International football.

“But my dream is, I’m not saying what’s happening, that Eden Hazard returns for the Paris Olympic Games. That would be a way to finish your international career. If the U-21 can qualify, wouldn’t it be great to see Eden Hazard play football in Paris?”

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Real Madrid News

51-year-old manager the ‘clear favourite’ to succeed Ancelotti at Real Madrid – report



Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

With there being uncertainty surrounding the future of Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid, it seems like Los Blancos have identified the ideal candidate to succeed the Italian if he leaves.

Indeed, according to TyC Sports in Argentina, former PSG and Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is the clear favourite to replace Ancelotti once he moves on from Real Madrid.

The 51-year-old tactician is currently unattached after having been let go of by PSG last summer. And, he could now make a sensational return to management with Real Madrid.

Ancelotti has a contract with the Merengues until the summer of 2024. But, his future is not entirely secure at this point as the current champions of Spain and Europe are losing the La Liga title race to Barcelona while they are also hanging by a thread in Copa del Rey.

Unless the 63-year-old leads Real Madrid to a major trophy this term, an exit could be on the cards. And, the Brazilian national team are lying in wait to swoop him away if such a scenario materialises.

Several names such as Raul Gonzalez, Zinedine Zidane, Julian Nagelsmann, and Xabi Alonso have been linked with the Real Madrid job if Ancelotti leaves.

But, now it is being claimed that Pochettino has emerged as the frontrunner to take over from the Italian tactician. The 51-year-old is understood to be president Florentino Perez’s most favourite candidate and is seen as a perfect fit at Real Madrid.

Pochettino had the chance of taking over at Real Madrid in the past but could not secure a release from Tottenham. Now, though, he is unattached and has reportedly even rejected a chance to rejoin Spurs as he is ready to wait until the summer for Real Madrid.

The report also suggests that Pochettino has previously rejected the likes of Ajax, Chelsea, Belgium national team and Brazil as well as he continues to wait for an approach from Los Blancos at the end of the season.

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