Belgium coach: Hazard still one of the best players in the world
(Brussels, France) Although Hazard rarely plays in Real Madrid due to injury, Belgium coach Martinez believes that Hazard is still one of the best players in the world.
Hazard has only started one game for Real Madrid this season. Although he is not reused in the club, he is still a mainstay of the Belgian national team. Hazard still led the team as captain against Wales and the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League last month.The unavailability of
at Real Madrid has sparked debate over the midfielder's role in next month's World Cup, although Martinez insists the 31-year-old remains a core member of his team.
He said: "Is Hazard an important member of the national team? Yes, 100 per cent. I believe his experience, the trouble he causes to opponents and the way he excels make him still a threat to our front line."
"For me, he is one of the best players in the world."
In the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Belgium lost to the final champion France in the semi-finals and finished in third place. In the 2020 European Championships, Hazard missed work in the rematch, and Belgium lost to Italy and was eliminated.
Based on the lack of game time in the club game, Martinez has reservations about whether Hazard's physical fitness can handle multiple games in a short period of time.
He said: "We cannot escape the reality that Hazard has not played regularly for a long time. Another question is whether he can last 90 minutes? Can he handle seven games in a short period of time?"
"These are very different from the past and may change in the next five weeks."
Belgium are in Group F with Canada, Morocco and 2018 runner-up Croatia at the Qatar World Cup.