Eden Hazard has declared his retirement from international football following Belgium’s elimination from the World Cup in Qatar in the group stage.
Hazard, 31, was unable to reclaim his best form in the tournament, finishing third in Group F behind Morocco and Croatia.
Despite being the icon of his generation, the Real Madrid forward appeared 126 times for his nation and scored 33 goals, but he was unable to bring victory to the Red Devils.
His most notable accomplishment for Belgium was finishing third in the 2018 World Cup, when he played in a 1-0 semi-final loss to France.
Hazard announced his retirement on Instagram, where he thanked his countrymen for their support.
“Today we flip a page,” he remarked. Thank you for your affection. Thank you so much for your unwavering support. Thank you for all of the happy times we’ve had since 2008.
“I made the decision today to discontinue my international career.” The next generation is here. I’m going to miss you guys terribly.”
Making his debut in a 1-1 tie with Luxembourg in 2008, the brilliant playmaker was instrumental in his country’s transformation into a world football powerhouse.
He would lead Belgium 56 times and set a good example over his 14 years on the international level.
Hazard, who scored once every 126 minutes, was always entertaining on the field and capable of keeping fans on the edge of their seats.
With four goals for his nation in big championships, the 5ft 9in virtuoso will be remembered fondly for his time in a red shirt.
Hazard’s retirement comes as no surprise, as does the dismissal of head coach Roberto Martinez, who resigned following the 0-0 tie with Croatia.
He will now return to Madrid, where he has 18 months left on his current contract, which expires in 2024.
The former Chelsea man’s future at Los Blancos is up in the air, with the attacker appearing only three times in LaLiga this season.
Injury worries might be a deal breaker for any possible suitor, according to reports linking him to a transfer away from the Santiago Bernabeu.