Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has said key forwards Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard are suffering from muscle fatigue, meaning they will play no further part in the current international break.
Martinez was speaking after watching his side surrender a two-goal lead to lose their Nations League semi-final to world champions France. The Spaniard’s comments have cast doubts over the severity of the players’ fitness issues as their club sides face a wait to see when they will next be available for selection.
Roberto Martinez Says Injured Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard Are Suffering From Muscle Fatigue
Belgium Boss ‘Does Not Know’ When the Duo Will Play Again
Chelsea striker Lukaku and Real Madrid winger Hazard both started for Belgium in Thursday’s Nations League semi-final. While Lukaku played the full 90 minutes and was on the scoresheet in the 3-2 defeat, Hazard completed 74 minutes after also being named in the starting line-up.
Former Everton manager Martinez – Belgium’s manager since 2016 – did not reveal the details of the duo’s discomfort in the immediate aftermath of the game, and says the extent of their injuries remain unclear.
Martinez said: “Romelu Lukaku is suffering from muscle fatigue, same as Eden Hazard. They’re not in the best condition to play. They’re leaving the national team camp due to these problems – I don’t know how long it will take.”
Belgium are next due to play Italy in Sunday’s Nations League third-place playoff. It will be a tough match for Martinez’ side without the injured Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard to call on.
Time Running Out for Martinez to Deliver With Belgium ‘Golden Generation’
Roberto Martinez knows their Nations League setback represents the latest chance to win a trophy that has passed by Belgium’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’.
Martinez is under contract as the country’s manager until June 2022, and failure to take a team also containing the likes of Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibault Courtois will see his reign judged as a failure.
Belgium have been ranked as world football’s number one side for over three years, but are the only national team to top the Fifa rankings without having won a major trophy.