Belgium forward Hazard retires from international soccer

Belgium's Eden Hazard aplauds at the end of the World Cup group F soccer match between Croatia and Belgium at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Belgium forward Eden Hazard retired from international soccer on Wednesday, nearly a week after his country’s aging generation of players was eliminated from the World Cup.

The 31-year-old winger made his debut with the national team in 2008 at the age of 17. He made 126 appearances and scored 33 goals.

“A page turns today...” the Real Madrid player wrote on his Instagram page on Wednesday. “Thanks for all the happiness shared since 2008. Decided to end my international career. The succession is ready. I will miss you guys...”

Belgium was eliminated from the tournament after a 0-0 draw with Croatia, which advanced as the second-place team in Group F behind Morocco. Hazard failed to score in the group stage.

Minutes after the game, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez announced he would be leaving his role after more than six years — a decision he said he had reached before the tournament started.

Martinez’s exit coincides with the likely breakup of Belgium’s “Golden Generation,” an era featuring standout attacking players like Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.

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