The Red Devils kicked off the World Cup this Monday evening at their national training center, located about twenty kilometers south of Brussels. Eden Hazard and former Reims defender Wout Faes are the first Belgium internationals to speak to the written and broadcast media. The team flies to Kuwait this Tuesday. Roberto Martinez’s men play a friendly against Egypt this Friday (18:00 local time, 16:00 Western Europe). Their entry into the competition will take place on November 23 in Qatar against Canada. In this context, at the age of 31, the captain, who scored 122 games and 33 goals, spoke extensively about his situation in the club, whose horizons were closed with the excellent results of Real Madrid.
“How do you live your situation in Real Madrid?
It would be a lie to say that I saw it well. I don’t play. It’s raining. I hardly missed any sessions. I have no criticism of the head coach (Carlo Ancelotti). He made a statement at a press conference. It is difficult for him to always answer the same questions. We talked at the beginning of the season. He asked me to do my best. i’m working The team has good results, and when I played there were not necessarily many of them. I’m at a bit of a dead end. I want to play more. I accept this situation. Every day I try to show that I can give more in training, that I still have good things to do. I try to smile. Sometimes it’s the mornings that are harder. When I think I’m playing and I’m not playing. It’s up to me to adapt.
Aren’t you missing a beat?
It’s hard to accept him when he’s not playing. I am being judged for several things. Of course, I was in the first match against Belgium in September (September 22 with Wales 2:1). The next one is not so good (0-1 at Holland, September 25). Although I do not doubt my qualities, it is up to me to restore self-confidence.
I don’t want to leave Real Madrid. But…”
How did you prepare for this world championship?
In a different way. I practiced more. Here, I won’t have time to rest. There is a first friendly match. It should be well prepared to build trust. I’m also looking forward to the first game to have fun and have fun.
Thinking of transferring in January?
I don’t want to leave Real Madrid. But the decision does not necessarily belong to me alone. We will analyze all this after the World Cup.
If you were a coach, would you start for Belgium?
In your opinion? From what I’ve done in the last two years, no. What I have done in the last fifteen years and nationally, yes.
“This is my third World Cup, probably our last chance to win something.”
Do you understand the doubts around you?
Of course. We are always suspicious of outsiders. It is up to me to dispel this doubt in people’s minds, to show that I have good leftovers.
The competition with Leandro Trossard is fierce in your position.
He deserves to play more than me this season. If so, I’ll be the first to congratulate him. We can play together too. I will not let go. After that, the coach will make his choice. I’m not building a team. There are only potential owners in the selection. Discipline that does not want competition must change. I have always lived. When I started at Lille, I took the place of the players. I did the same at Chelsea. And one day someone will come who buys mine. I want to show that I have not become useless in two or three years. I have this strength, this motivation. For my family, the people of Belgium. This is my third World Cup, probably our last chance to win something. We want to go as far as possible. Then we know that many parameters can interfere. Luck can play a role. We will now focus on our first three games. If we qualify later, in the final stage. In 2018, we were at the top of our form. I play less like Romelu there (Lukaku). Our defense is a bit old. But we have good young people and old people.
“My ankle mobility is better”
Can the captain stay on the bench?
Sometimes yes. But not always (smile). You have to ask the coach. I feel great mentally and physically. I’m in the same situation as I was at the last Euro, where I gradually gained a rhythm. I played fifteen minutes in the first game. And a little more each time. I felt really good against Portugal (1-0, Round of 16 before late game injury). We have super competent medical and technical staff for this.
Will this be your last major tournament with Belgium?
This is possible. I’m not projecting myself to the next euro (2024, Germany) or in 2026. We are few in this case. We will see our motivation level after the World Cup. On a personal level, I feel better after the operation (plate removed from one of his ankles). I no longer have minor injuries that I didn’t realize existed. My feet hurt less. My ankle mobility is better. My speed has not changed. Now the most important thing is the rhythm. »