Eden Hazard, the former star of Chelsea and Real Madrid, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32. He shared this news on his official Instagram account, expressing that he believes now is the right time to end his career.
Hazard has been without a club since leaving Real Madrid as a free agent in the summer. Despite receiving offers from various clubs to continue playing, Hazard turned them down and decided to hang up his boots.
“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time. After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer. 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,” said Hazard’s official Instagram account.
Hazard had retired from international football in December of the previous year after Belgium was eliminated in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup.
During his time at Real Madrid, Hazard won the Champions League, a Club World Cup, a European Super Cup, two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, and two Spanish Super Cups. However, his tenure in Spain is widely regarded as disappointing, as he managed to score only 7 goals in 76 appearances across all competitions.
Hazard began his career with French club Lille, scoring 50 goals in 149 appearances and contributing to the club’s victory in the domestic double of Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France during the 2010-11 season.
In the summer of 2012, he moved to Chelsea for a reported fee of £32m, where he became an influential figure and was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2014-15.
For Chelsea, Hazard scored 110 goals in 352 appearances. His final game for the club was in the 2019 Europa League final against Arsenal, where he scored the winning goal.
Hazard holds an impressive record in the Premier League, being one of only four players to achieve 15 or more goals and 15 or more assists in a single season, along with Thierry Henry, Matt Le Tissier, and Eric Cantona. In the 2018-19 campaign, he scored 16 goals and provided 15 assists.
Retiring after an underwhelming four years at Real Madrid, where he failed to meet the high expectations set by his €100 million (£88m/$112m) transfer from Chelsea, Hazard has decided to conclude his football journey.