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Eden Hazard retires at 32, ending his career in a regrettable way


Eden Hazard attends his retirement ceremony from the Belgian national team at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, June 17, 2023. /CFP

Eden Hazard attends his retirement ceremony from the Belgian national team at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, June 17, 2023. /CFP

Eden Hazard attends his retirement ceremony from the Belgian national team at King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium, June 17, 2023. /CFP

Former Belgian winger of Real Madrid and Chelsea, Eden Hazard, announced his retirement from football on social media on Tuesday.

“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time,” Hazard posted on Instagram. “After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer. I was able to realize my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world.”

In June, Hazard reached an agreement with Real to terminate his contract with the club, four years after Los Blancos brought him to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with 115 million euros (about $121.7 million). He is still the most expensive player Real ever signed, but Hazard scored only seven goals and 12 assists in 76 games for the club in four seasons.

Eden Hazard (#7) of Real Madrid dribbles in the La Liga game against Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, May 13, 2023. /CFP

Eden Hazard (#7) of Real Madrid dribbles in the La Liga game against Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, May 13, 2023. /CFP

Eden Hazard (#7) of Real Madrid dribbles in the La Liga game against Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain, May 13, 2023. /CFP

Real won two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey and one UEFA Champions League trophy among other honors since Hazard came, but he didn’t have much to do with them after playing so little and contributing even less.

By contrast, he made 352 appearances for Chelsea and scored 110 goals with 92 assists between 2012 and 2019. The club wouldn’t have won the two Premier League and the two UEFA Europa League titles without him. Back then, he was considered as one of the best in his position.

Injuries and the lack of self-discipline ruined Hazard’s career in Real. He was often out of shape, which cost him his signature sharp penetration, his most important weapon as a player.

Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal in the UEFA Europa League final against Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu in Baku, Azerbaijan, May 29, 2019. /CFP

Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal in the UEFA Europa League final against Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu in Baku, Azerbaijan, May 29, 2019. /CFP

Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates after scoring a goal in the UEFA Europa League final against Arsenal at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu in Baku, Azerbaijan, May 29, 2019. /CFP

As a member of Belgium’s golden generation, Hazard scored 33 goals in 126 games for the national team. He participated in three editions of the FIFA World Cup and two editions of UEFA European Championship for Belgium, leading them to finish in the third place in the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

“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 Instagram.

“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,” he added.



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