Having not played in professional club football since the 2022/2023 Season, former Lille, Chelsea and Real Madrid player Eden Hazard has decided to quite the sports he excelled at at a rather young age of 32. The former captain of the Belgium national football team, who retired from international football after the 2022 FIFA World Cup and terminated his contract with Los Blancos by mutual consent earlier this year, took to the internet to announce his shocking decision, thus putting a full-stop to an illustrious professional club and country football career that lasted for more than one and a half decade.
One of Chelsea’s and Belgium’s Very Best
After graduated from the Lille academy, Eden Hazard went on to represent the senior side of the French Ligue 1 club in the 2007/2008 Season, making four appearances in all competitions for the French outfit in his inaugural year. The Belgium player then notched 50 goals and 53 assists in his following 190 games for Lille while the club embarked on a journey that saw them edge out traditional powerhouses such as Olympique de Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title and Olympique Lyonnais in 2010/2011. Apart from these team silverwares, Eden Hazard also bagged multiple Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year awards to his name.
These star-studded performances caught many major European football clubs’ attention, and Eden Hazard ultimately chose Chelsea as the next stop of his professional career, a place where he truly flourished as one of the fiercest attackers in the world of football. In addition to a total of 202 goal contributions in 352 appearances for the Blues, Eden Hazard led Chelsea to two English Premier League titles, two UEFA Europa League trophies, one FA Cup and two EFL Cups. The Belgian magician himself collected more individual honours in the Blues’ successes, including Premier League Player of the Season, member of the UEFA Team of the Year, Chelsea F.C. Player of the Year, just to name a few.
These staggering statistics were also translated into Eden Hazard’s international career, where he made his senior debut at international stage at a tender age of 17. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Silver Ball winner was a member of Belgium’s famous Golden Generation, which was boasted with the likes of former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, Real Madrid shot stopper Thibaut Courtois, City’s midfielder maestro Kevin De Bruyne, high-scoring striker Romelu Lukaku and many more. Although the former world no. 1 team did not manage to emerge victorious in major competitions, Eden Hazard’s leadership and presence did push the Red Devils to a third-placed finish in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
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Injury-Plagued Real Madrid Career
What truly went wrong during Eden Hazard’s sensational career started from his move to Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid from Chelsea. After losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Italian Serie A juggernauts Juventus and new signing Mariano Díaz failing to filling the big boots left by the Portuguese captain, Los Blancos bought Eden Hazard for a reported fee of €100 million, and the Belgium player was given the famous no. 7 jersey at Madrid, previously worn by club legends such as Ronaldo and Raúl.
The expectations were high on Eden Hazard, but sudden fitness decline and countless injuries meant he never found his foot at the Spanish outfit. Despite spending four seasons and winning seven titles with Los Blancos, Eden Hazard barely contributed to the team’s brilliance with his mere statistics of seven goals and 12 assists in 76 appearances. His injury-prone Madrid tenure, especially the final year that saw him barely register double-digit games, made many to label him as one of the worst signings made by Real Madrid in recent times, eventually prompting both the club and the player to reach an agreement to terminate the latter’s contract, which was sealed more than four months ago.
The streets will never forget how good prime Eden Hazard was 🪄
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 10, 2023
Eden Hazard Received Multiple Offers Before His Retirement Call
Prior to coming down to hanging up his boots for good, the 32-year-old Eden Hazard received offers not only from European clubs, but also those from the new hotspots of professional football, the Saudi Pro League and the Major League soccer. The former Belgium international snubbed these deals as he was already thinking about retirement after quitting the national side and Real Madrid in December last year and June this year respectively.
Eden Hazard’s retirement statement simply reads “I was able to realise my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world. During my career I was lucky to meet great managers, coaches and teammates – thank you to everyone for these great times, I will miss you all. I also want to thank the clubs I have played for: LOSC, Chelsea and Real Madrid; And thank the RBFA for my Belgian Selection. A special thank you to my family, my friends, my advisors and the people who have been close to me in good times and bad.”
“Finally, a huge thank you to you, my fans, who have followed me for all these years and for your encouragement everywhere I have played. Now is the time to enjoy my loved ones and have new experiences. See you off the field soon my friends,” added the former Belgian star with 393 career goal contributions (200 goals + 193 assists).
Players’ Reactions Towards Eden Hazard’s Retirement
In light of his retirement statement, many players and coaches, past and present, took this opportunity to hail an amazing career Eden Hazard had over the course of 16 years. These tributes included former Chelsea skipper John Terry’s “One of the best players in history and an absolute Baller“, ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher’s “An all time @premierleague great no doubt & would be in a lot of all time 11’s”, Real Madrid midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni’s “If you love good football, then you enjoy Eden Hazard. Iconic”, etc.