- Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku told Business Insider he plans to retire from international play after Euros in 2020, meaning he won’t play in the 2022 World Cup.
- Lukaku said the Belgian team set a new standard for the nation in the 2018 World Cup by making the semifinals.
- Though Lukaku said he still hasn’t hit his prime, he said after Euros, the next generation of Belgian players can come for his spot on the team.
It sounds as though the 2018 World Cup may have been Romelu Lukaku’s last.
In an interview with Business Insider, the Belgian striker said he plans on retiring from the Belgian national team after Euros in 2020, meaning he would miss the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“After the Euros, I think I’ll stop,” Lukaku said when discussing the national team’s future and whether he’ll be in the next World Cup.
Lukaku played in the previous two World Cups, most recently helping to lead Belgium to the semifinals before they lost to France. He said making the semifinals has become the new standard for Belgium in any tournament going forward.
“Every big tournament for us as a country has to be getting into the semifinals, and then you go from there,” Lukaku said. “You will go to win the whole thing, but you don’t go for less than the semifinals.”
Lukaku said he’s hopeful for the next generation of Belgian national team players, saying they’re skilled and have access to better training. He did say, however, that he’s worried they’re less hungry than his generation because of the money that can be made at a young age.
“Because with soccer now, at the minute, there’s a lot of money involved at a young age,” Lukaku said. “Money that you can earn in the pros, you can earn it already at 12, 13. So it takes the hunger away from you.”
Though Lukaku already has plans to hang up his cleats, he still has a lot of good soccer left in him. He said he doesn’t give too much advice to younger players for fear of them taking his spot.
“I’m 25, I’m like, I’m not even in my prime yet,” he said. “So I still see them as competition right now because they try to take my spot and I don’t want to give it up to them. So like another two years, and then they can have it.”
If Lukaku has indeed played in his last World Cup, he’ll go out having authored one of the best plays in the entire tournament in 2018 – his brilliant dummy that set up a game-winning goal over Japan.
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