Former winger Eden Hazard announces retirement

Eden Hazard, a former winger for Chelsea, has declared his retirement from the game. After spending £89 million to join Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019, Hazard, 32, featured in just 54 league games before leaving the Spanish powerhouse at the end of the previous campaign. He was a Stamford Bridge player who won two Premier League titles.

Since his contract was canceled in June, Hazard has been a free agent. “You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time,” Hazard remarked. “After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer.”

The Belgian had previously announced his retirement from the game in December, having been a member of the team that was eliminated in the group stages of the 2022 World Cup.

Hazard earned two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one European Super Cup, a Club World Cup, two Spanish Super Cups, and one Champions League while at Real Madrid. However, it is generally agreed upon that his stint in Spain was unsatisfactory since he only managed 7 goals in 76 games across all competitions.

The Premier League team referred to him as “one of the greatest players in Chelsea history” and stated on their website that “he would always be welcome back at Stamford Bridge”. Hazard began his professional career with Lille, a French team, where he made 149 appearances, scored 50 goals, and helped the team win the Coupe de France in 2010–11.

After reportedly paying £32 million to join Chelsea in the summer of 2012, he went on to establish himself as a legendary member of the team and win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 2014–15.

In his 352 Blues games, Hazard scored 110 goals, including the game-winning goal against Arsenal in the 2019 Europa League final on his last outing.

With 16 goals and 15 assists in the 2018–19 season, he is also one of just four players in Premier League history (together with Thierry Henry, Matt Le Tissier, and Eric Cantona) to score 15 goals and dish out 15 assists in a single season.

“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,” Hazard wrote on Twitter.

“I express my gratitude to the RBFA for selecting me for Belgium, as well as to the teams I have represented, including LOSC, Chelsea, and Real Madrid.

“I would especially like to express my gratitude to my friends, family, advisors, and everyone who has supported me through good times and bad.

“To all of my fans, who have supported me throughout the years and have shown me love everywhere I have performed, I want to say thank you so much.

“It’s time to enjoy my loved ones and explore new things right now. My friends, I’ll see you off the pitch soon.”

Following his 2008 debut for Belgium against Luxembourg, Hazard amassed 126 caps and scored 33 goals. He captained the team 56 times and played in three World Cups and two European Championships. When Belgium finished third in the 2018 World Cup, he scored three goals, including one against England in the third-place play-off.

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