BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgium teammates Jan Vertonghen and Michy Batshuayi were on the move Friday leaving Champions League teams to join new clubs ahead of the World Cup.
Vertonghen moved home to join Anderlecht and prepare to play in the Belgian league for the first time at age 35. Anderlecht said the veteran defender signed a two-year deal.
Vertonghen left Benfica despite the promise of Champions League soccer in a group with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. Anderlecht is in the third-tier Europa Conference League playing West Ham, FCSB from Romania and Silkeborg of Denmark.
Batshuayi headed back to Turkey where Fenerbahçe said it had an agreement with Chelsea for the transfer pending a medical.
The 28-year-old Batshuayi spent last season in Istanbul with Beşiktaş, which was the fourth club Chelsea loaned him to since he joined in 2016.
Fenerbahçe's group in the second-tier Europa League includes Dynamo Kyiv, Rennes and AEK Larnaca.
Vertonghen and Batshuayi were in the Belgium squad at the 2018 World Cup that lost in the semifinals against eventual champion France. Vertonghen’s 139 international games is a Belgium record.
Belgium, the world's No. 2-ranked team behind Brazil, was drawn in a World Cup group with 2018 beaten finalist Croatia, Morocco and Canada.
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The Associated Press