Belgium suffered a big blow to their Euro 2016 hopes on Saturday when inspirational skipper Vincent Kompany was ruled out of the tournament after failing to recover from injury.
“I’ll miss the Euros. To me that’s very sad news,” the 30-year-old Manchester City captain wrote on his Facebook page.
“So I could be standing here, feeling sorry for myself. I could fear for my career, as others may do. I could give up...That is not me.”
Kompany has been dogged by a series of injuries for most of the season and the defender limped out of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday after just 10 minutes with a groin problem.
In Kompany’s absence, it is expected that Chelsea’s Eden Hazard will captain Belgium at Euro 2016, which starts in France on June 10.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots will have a further defensive headache for the tournament as Barcelona centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is also injury prone and features little for the Spanish giants.
Recently, Belgian newspaper Le Soir calculated that in his 13-year career, Kompany has spent 1,045 days in hospital, highlighting his reputation as a player of brittle build.
At Manchester City, he has won the Premier League title on two occasions -- in 2012 and 2014.
Kompany, who started his career at Anderlecht, has suffered five different injuries this season, appearing in only 22 of City’s 57 matches.
“So I remain calm and positive. I will continue to follow my path and I will do so with more conviction than ever,” the player of 70 international caps wrote on Facebook.
“I trust my friends and teammates to do well and do us proud at the next European Championships in France. I am now officially their most fervent supporter and I will be there to support them.
“Written from my hospital bed. Never giving up.”
His injury record may end up conspiring against him when new coach Pep Guardiola takes over at Manchester City next season despite having a contract which runs to 2020.
In the meantime, the likes of Celtic’s Dedryck Boyata, Bjorn Engels of Club Bruges, Jason Denayer of Galatasaray and Montreal Impact’s Laurent Ciman are likely to battle for Kompany’s place at the Euros.
Belgium will play Sweden, Italy and Republic of Ireland in the group stages.
“I am a hard worker and a fighter,” added Kompany who had sought out an injury specialist in Barcelona after the game in Madrid in the vain hope of curing his long-term problems.
“I have the greatest respect for those who overcome their personal challenges in life with a positive attitude. I want to live up to that.”