Belgian attacking midfielder Eden Hazard announced his retirement on Tuesday after failing to find another club following his release by Real Madrid.
The 32-year-old endured an injury-plagued spell at Real Madrid after his 89-million-pound (103 million euros) move from Chelsea in 2019, playing just 76 matches in all competitions across four seasons.
“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time,” Hazard wrote on Instagram. “After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer.”
Hazard had a far happier time at Chelsea, winning both the Premier League title and Europa League twice as well as the FA and League Cup from 2012-2019.
“These were defining moments, memories that will carry on flickering away on endless replays in the back of our minds forever. And that is how the Eden Hazard legacy will remain. In our minds, forever. Happy retirement, to one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players,” the Blues wrote on Twitter.
October 10, 2023
He was also integral to Belgium’s impressive run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, beating Brazil in the quarter-finals but bowing out to eventual champions France in the semi-final.
However, he was unable to rouse himself for last year’s World Cup finals when along with fellow stars Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, Hazard and a below-par Belgium bowed out in the group stage.
Nevertheless Hazard – who also won a Ligue 1 crown with Lille and two La Liga titles with Madrid and picked up a Champions League winners’ medal as an unused substitute in 2022 – was in grateful mood as he signed off.
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