Belgium Under-21 manager Johan Walem has revealed Eden Hazard has asked him about the possibility of competing in the Olympics next summer.
The 28-year-old recently completed a switch from Chelsea to La Liga giants Real Madrid, becoming Los Blancos’ third summer signing.
Will Hazard compete in the Olympics? Five key things to know…
- Should Belgium reach the Round of 16 at this summer’s Under-21 European Championship in Italy, then they will qualify for the Olympic games next summer.
- Olympic rules stipulate all teams competing must be comprised of players aged 23 or under, apart from three senior players.
- As such, Hazard would be able to participate as one of the nation’s trio of senior players.
- The Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo next summer.
- Hazard has outlined his desire to compete in the quadrennial competition, according to Belgium Under-21 manager Walem.
But the diminutive forward could have an even busier summer in 2020 should Belgium’s football team make it to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The Young Devils would have to reach the Round of 16 at this summer’s Under-21 European Championship to qualify, but should that come to fruition, then Hazard could be playing a big part in quadrennial tournament next summer.
“Hazard has already asked me if he could come to Tokyo if we qualify,” Walem said.
“If we qualify, I will stick with the group that played at the [U21 European Championship]. But I already know that picking a squad for an Olympics will be difficult.
“Right now, I have more than 30 players and reducing this to 23 for the Euros was a hellish task, and reducing it to 18 would be impossible.
“It would be even worse if I had to pick players older than 23.”
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Belgian football at the Olympics
The last time Belgium participated in the men’s football tournament at the Olympics was over a decade ago in Beijing 2008.
Under the coaching auspices of Jean-Francois de Sart, the European nation placed fourth after losing 3-0 to Brazil in the Bronze medal match at the Shanghai Stadium.
Among those in the Young Devils squad included a 22-year-old Vincent Kompany, then at Hamburg, a 22-year-old Thomas Vermaelen of Ajax, a 21-year-old Jan Vertonghen, who was also at Ajax, and a 20-year-old Marouane Fellaini, then at Standard Liege.
The squad also included Mousa Dembele of AZ Alkmaar and Kevin Mirallas of Lille.