Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard have been excused for the remainder of the international window due to concerns over their fitness, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez confirmed on Saturday.
The Chelsea and Real Madrid stars both played in Belgium’s UEFA Nations League semi-final defeat to France on Thursday, with the former scoring in the 3-2 reverse.
But they will not take part in Sunday’s third-place play-off against Italy after struggling with muscular fatigue following the last-four clash.
Martinez told reporters:
“They’re not in the best conditions to play,”
“They’re leaving the national team camp due to these problems – I don’t know how long it will take for them to recover.”
Lukaku, though, will not immediately report to Chelsea, instead returning to Belgium to seek treatment on the affected muscle.
“It’s fatigue. He didn’t feel 100 per cent to play tomorrow.
It’s soreness in his tissue,”
“Every decision taken involves both medical departments together for the good of the player.
“Obviously there is an excellent understanding between the two sets of medical staff and we want to do the best for the player.
“Every decision is also made in agreement with the club.”
Some of the Belgium players Martinez has at his disposal are not happy about Sunday’s game.
“Being third in the Nations League is pointless.
I don’t know why we have to play that match. I’ll take it as a friendly match.”