It hurts seeing a generation of talented players go without fulfilling their potential. It is painful to see them fail to live up to expectations. It is the story of a group of talented players who were supposed to erase the pains of many years. Known as the golden generation, they have struggled but withered in the intense glare of expectations.
The failure of the golden generation of Belgium is one of the many tales to be told, but they are not alone in this category. Once upon a time, the Portuguese national team was populated by talented players who were supposed to rule the world. They had players like Rui Costa, João Pinto, Paulo Sousa, Costinha, Ricardo Carvalho, Luís Figo, Nuno Gomes, Pauleta, Deco, Simão and a young Cristiano Ronaldo, yet failed to deliver the promise.
Belgium are no different. After a disastrous outing in Qatar, it seems their golden generation will never live up to its promise. One of the stars of this era has voluntarily opted out of the national team. Eden Hazard has now called time on his international career.
Belgium were one of the top dogs to win the World Cup. Many saw them as dark horses following the age of the team. The golden generation was coming to the end of its tether. In a group that included Canada, Morocco and Croatia, they managed a lucky win against the North Americans and crashed out of the WorldCup.
The fallout of the debacle in Qatar has been instantaneous. Following the draw with Croatia, the coach Roberto Martinez fell on his sword. Eden Hazard has also joined his boss as the announcement of his international retirement from football came on Wednesday.
The Red Devils had the oldest squad at the World Cup, including 31-year-old Eden Hazard. Kevin De Bruyne complained about it, claiming they could not win the tournament because they were too old. It did not go down well with certain players. The result is the departure from the national team of Eden Hazard and Roberto Martinez.
Hazard, who is having a torrid time at Real Madrid, might as well be inching closer to the end of his football career. He has struggled to break into the starting lineup of Los Blancos – relegated to the bench by Brazilian star Vinicius Junior.
The 31-year-old winger began his international career for Belgium in 2008 at 17. In his 14 years with the Red Devils, he made 126 appearances, scoring 33 goals.
In a statement on his Instagram page on Wednesday, Hazard said A page turns today. The Real Madrid winger thanked his fans for all the happiness they shared since 2008. He said he decided to end his international career with succession ready. He added he was going to miss everyone.
The international retirement of Eden Hazard could be the beginning of the end for the golden generation. It is painful as they never fulfilled the promise.