Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City said on Tuesday that he felt “honored” to be selected Belgium’s captain in the wake of Eden Hazard’s retirement from international play.
Domenico Tedesco, the coach of the Red Devils, selected playmaker De Bruyne for the post after Real Madrid’s Hazard, who turned 32 in January, terminated his career with Belgium after the World Cup last year.
Zeno Debast and Romeo Lavia, both 19 years old, have been recalled to a group that was already aging under Tedesco, who succeeded Roberto Martinez after the competition.
“It’s an honour for me to be named and represent the country in this way,” De Bruyne told RTL-TVI television.
“I’m almost 32. I’ve never considered international retirement. I believe I can still contribute to the conversation and assist the children ” he said.
Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea and Thibaut Courtois of Madrid will serve as De Bruyne’s vice captains.
Once the Red Devils were eliminated in the group stage in Qatar, De Bruyne was one of the players who received criticism.
De Bruyne, who has played 97 games for Belgium and scored 25 goals, will lead the team for the first time on Friday when they play Sweden in a Euro 2024 qualifying match.
In the tournament’s campaign, which will take place in Germany next summer, they will also compete against Austria, Azerbaijan, and Estonia.