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?”
Atletico striker hoping Bellingham has an off day during derby: “He is at a great level”
Speaking to DAZN (h/t Mundo Deportivo), Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata admitted that Real Madrid midfield superstar Jude Bellingham is performing at a great level.
Real Madrid take on Atletico in La Liga on Sunday in the Madrid derby at the Civitas Metropolitano and without a doubt, Bellingham will pose a huge threat for the Rojiblancos.
Alvaro Morata hopes Bellingham as a quiet outing
Ahead of the blockbuster encounter on Sunday, Morata, who is Atletico’s main striker, admitted that Bellingham has great quality.
“I saw him last year in a few games, the truth is that he caught my attention. I saw him in his team and in his national team, and talking to people who had played with him, teammates he has, you could already see that he was a great player,” he said.
However, the former Real Madrid striker added that he hoped that the England international has an off day during the derby.
“The truth is that he is at a great level, we can only hope that he doesn’t do well and that we also have very good players to counteract that. We hope he doesn’t have a good day on Sunday,” Morata stated.
Bellingham fit and ready to go
Bellingham has been the in-form player for Real Madrid this season with six goals and an assist in six matches across all competitions.
So, naturally, there were concerns when he did not complete the training sessions on Friday due to stomach issues.