The head coach was concerned that his star man’s big-money transfer might distract the team in their Euro 2020 qualifier but his fears were allayed
Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez was pleased Eden Hazard’s big-money transfer to Real Madrid did not prove a distraction as his side cruised to a 3-0 win over Kazakhstan on Saturday.
Hazard – making his 100th appearance for Belgium – did not score but set up the first goal for Dries Mertens while Timothy Castagne and Romelu Lukaku also netted in what was a straight-forward Euro 2020 qualifying victory in Brussels.
LaLiga giants Madrid confirmed the signing of Hazard on Friday, the 28-year-old swapping Chelsea for Spain and signing a five-year deal.
Martinez worried that the move may have seen his side take their eye off the ball but that was not to be the case.
“The atmosphere was great in the stadium. I was a little afraid that the festivities around Eden Hazard would distract, but that was not the case,” he was quoted as saying by Le Soir.
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“It’s fantastic for Eden … I hope he will keep the pleasure of playing and will continue to give pleasure to the fans.
“It’s great how it has not changed over time.”
Speaking on his side’s victory, Martinez said Belgium “imposed our game” on the Kazakhs.
“Everything worked well … we must emphasise the seriousness and concentration of the group,” he said.
“Kazakhstan’s performance against Scotland was very strong but they were not allowed to do what they had in mind.”
Martinez also reserved special praise for Castagne following a series of “very good” performances for the national team.
“He did what I asked him. His job requires a lot of effort, but he did very well,” he added.
Belgium have another home fixture on Tuesday, with Steve Clarke’s Scotland set to visit the Belgian capital.