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Belgium’s most capped international Vertonghen retires

Belgium’s most experienced international player, Jan Vertonghen, announced his retirement from international football on Friday after earning 157 caps.

In a brief message shared on social media, the 37-year-old Vertonghen expressed gratitude for the memories and stated, “I have lived my dream.”

Vertonghen debuted for Belgium at the start of 2007, debuting in a European Championship qualifier where Belgium suffered a 2-1 defeat at home against Portugal. Over the years, he occasionally captained the team and was a key figure during Belgium’s campaigns in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they reached the quarter-finals, and the 2018 World Cup in Russia, advancing to the semi-finals.

He also participated in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, although Belgium exited the tournament early. Vertonghen featured in the last three European Championships, including the recent round of 16 match against France, where an own goal in the latter stages contributed to Belgium’s elimination.

At the club level, Vertonghen’s future is uncertain as his contract with Anderlecht expired at the end of last month. Previously, he played for RKC Waalwijk, Ajax Amsterdam, Tottenham Hotspur, and Benfica.

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