Manchester United No.9 Romelu Lukaku has dropped a hint on when he would hang up his Belgium boots.
In a week that has seen so many call time on their international career – David Silva with Spain, Mario Mandzukic with Croatia and surprisingly Super Eagles attacker Victor Moses – Lukaku has hinted on how long he has left with the Rode Duivels.
Aged 25, Lukaku’s revelation will come as a surprise to many particularly his Belgium teammates and coaches.
Fresh off a bronze medal finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where the Manchester United striker netted four times, he has revealed that the 2018 World Cup might be his last.
Lukaku, 25, plans to retire from the Belgium national team after the 2020 European Championships when he will be 27.
Lukaku made this known in an interview with Business Insider: “After the Euros, I think I’ll stop.”
The Manchester United forward has appeared in two World Cups already in 2014 and 2018 posting a decent return of five goals from both outings.
If Lukaku does feature in the 2020 European Championships which is very likely, it will be his second appearance in the tournament and perhaps his last if he does stay true to his words.
Since making his debut in 2010 for the Belgium national team, he has featured so far in 75 games registering 40 international goals.
That return has not only pushed him to become Belgium’s highest goalscorer in history, it has also helped Roberto Martinez’s side become real title contenders behind the more fancied Brazil, Germany, France and Spanish national team.
Their third place finish at the World Cup in Russia will definitely put them in the same bracket as those teams now and the striker himself admitted that making it to the semi-finals has become a standard for the Belgium national team in international competitions.
“Every big tournament for us as a country has to be getting into the semi-finals, and then you go from there,” Lukaku added.
“You will go to win the whole thing, but you don’t go for less than the semi-finals.”
Lukaku also commented that he felt his retirement – in two years – will provide a chance for the younger generation of Rode Duivels.
He said: “I’m 25, I’m like, I’m not even in my prime yet.
“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.”
He was however wary that the money-spinning nature of football could make the younger Belgians less hungry.
“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.”
The Belgium international will now turn his attention to Manchester United’s 2018-2019 campaign which got underway with a 2-1 win over Leicester City.
He is presently signed to the Red Devils till the summer of 2022 with an option of a one-year extension.