Former Chelsea and Real Madrid Forward Eden Hazard RETIRES From Football At Age 32.

Eden Hazard announces his retirement from professional football at the age of 32, bringing an end to his 16-year career marked by dazzling skill and an impressive haul of trophies but which was ultimately wrecked by injuries.

The forward enjoyed successful stay at Lille and Chelsea before ending his club career with a disappointing spell at Real Madrid.

Born in La Louvière, Hazard came to prominence in France with Lille, where a string of captivating and decisive performances made a move to one of Europe’s leading clubs increasingly inevitable.

He won the Ligue 1 title and the Coupe de France in the same season with the French club.

Come the summer of 2012, Real, Barcelona, Manchester City, Man United and Arsenal were all said to be keen on landing the 21-year-old but he ultimately chose to move to another suitor in Chelsea for £32m, with their victory over Bayern Munich in that year’s Champions League final a deciding factor.

His creative, quick, hard-working and ruthlessness was crucial to the Blues success in that time, making 352 appearances, netting 110 goals, 75 assists in his seven superb seasons at Stamford Bridge.

Most notably, Hazard won two Premier League titles, two Europa Leagues, an FA Cup and League Cup. In 2015, he was also named PFA player of the year, and named in the PFA Premier League team of the season on four occasions.

In the summer of 2018, Real Madrid became determined to make the then 28-year-old their star capture ahead of the new season, as well as essentially a long-term replacement of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo following his move to Juventus the previous year.

Hazard scored his first goal for Los Blancos in October 2019 in his first home start against Granada, and there were promising hints of a blossoming understanding with forward Karim Benzema, having joined the Spanish giants for £88.5m from Chelsea in June 2019.

After missing the start of the season with a hamstring injury, he gradually started to find form, and just as he was starting to approach top form, he was derailed by injury again. A nasty tackle by Paris St-Germain defender Thomas Meunier during a Champions League game in November 2019 damaged his right ankle, keeping him on the sidelines for nearly three months.

All in all, he suffered 18 separate injuries during his time in the Spanish capital, as he rarely featured for Real. Despite that he still managed to play a part in the winning of six trophies, including two La Liga titles and one Champions League. 

When he subsequently left Real at the end of the season there was no fanfare, no recriminations, not really much of anything other than a sad acknowledgment that things just had not worked out. 

His final season at Real was even more anonymous as Hazard tasted just 395 minutes of action, making his last appearance in a Real shirt on 13 May with a suitably uneventful hour during a 1-0 win against Getafe - no shots, no chances created, and the only goal coming after he had been substituted.

In Hazard's four seasons in Spain, he made just 76 appearances (32 of them as a substitute), scored seven goals and nine assists, and never played a single minute of a Clasico against Barcelona.

"You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time," Hazard wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

"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."

Hazard also thanked his three clubs, Lille, Chelsea and Real Madrid, as well as the Belgian FA and national team in his statement.

"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," the post continued.

"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."

For Belgium, he made 126 appearances and scored 33 goals, captaining his country at the most recent World Cup in Qatar.

He ranks fourth in Belgium's all-time appearance list and second in goalscoring - 126 and 33 respectively - and captained his country during a period of unprecedented success.

With the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku for company, Hazard was the most important member of Belgium's golden generation which, for a while, was regularly considered a realistic candidate for major trophies and knocked out Brazil on the way to finishing third at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They narrowly lost to eventual winners France in the semifinals.

Despite Belgium being a great team, they never won anything, or reached a final.

Chelsea paid tribute to Hazard in a series of posts on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, saying he was "a player who could do pretty much anything with a ball at his feet."

"Happy retirement, to one of Chelsea's greatest ever players," it concludes.

Lille similarly posted an emotional tribute, saying; "[Hazard's] prowess will live forever in our memories" and that Hazard is the "greatest talent trained at LOSC."

Hazard was reportedly not convinced by approaches from Major League Soccer (MLS) and Saudi Arabia clubs in the last 4 months as he was already thinking of retirement.


No comments

Powered by Blogger.