Martinez salutes 'extraordinary' Hazard ahead of 100th Belgium cap

Eden Hazard is set to win his 100th Belgium cap on Sunday, and Roberto Martinez saluted his dedication ahead of that achievement.

Belgium star Eden Hazard.   -  Getty Images

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez paid tribute to Eden Hazard ahead of the Chelsea forward earning his 100th international cap.

Hazard, 28, made his international debut over 10 years ago in November 2008 after breaking onto the scene as a highly rated youngster at Lille.

He has since become an integral part of Belgium's team, helping them qualify for Euro 2016 after a 16-year absence and inspirational as they reached the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup,  its best performance in the tournament's history.

Should he feature against Cyprus in Euro 2020 qualifying on Sunday, Hazard will reach a centenary of Belgium caps and Martinez commended him for his dedication.

"A hundred games is an impressive number for someone as young as 28," the Spanish coach told reporters.

"It shows how much of an extraordinary man and footballer Eden is. This is an example for everyone with this dedication and commitment."

Axel Witsel (101 caps) and Jan Vertonghen (111) are the only players to have represented Belgium more often than Hazard, though the attacker thinks former Chelsea team-mate Thibaut Courtois will surpass them all.

"I don't set a goal," Hazard added. "I have always said that I wanted to play as long as my body doesn't say stop.

"It will also be related to the new generation. If I see that there is a player in my place, I'll let him play, I hope it happens, that's what makes football: the oldest stop, the youngest ones push on.

"When I arrived, I probably pushed people [out]. Today, I'm still young, and I think that Courtois will beat the record, especially if he's playing until the age of 38.

"I don't know, maybe he'll do it, be a [Gianluigi] Buffon, play until he's 40. I will try to continue as long as Thibaut continues."

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