' Was able to realise my dream': Eden Hazard retires from football at 32; posts emotional farewell note
Ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard's career, though marked by injuries in its latter stages, leaves an indelible mark on the footballing world, and his retirement signifies the end of an era for the talented Belgian winger.
Belgian football icon Eden Hazard, at the age of 32, has officially announced his retirement from professional football through a social media post. Hazard has been without a club since his departure from Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid during the summer transfer window, where he made only 76 appearances across four seasons. Following his exit from Real Madrid, a return to elite-level football seemed unlikely as Hazard hinted multiple times that he might be considering retiring for good. Despite reported interest from English clubs, concerns about his fitness appeared to be a significant obstacle.
In a comprehensive statement shared on his Instagram page, the former Chelsea and Real Madrid star confirmed his decision to retire from the game. He wrote, "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," he added.
"I also want to thank the clubs I have played for: LOSC, Chelsea and Real Madrid; and thank the RBFA for my Belgian Selection. 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," wrote the Belgian.
"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," he signed off.
Throughout his illustrious career, Hazard achieved considerable success, winning the Premier League twice and earning the PFA Player of the Year award during his time at Chelsea. He also secured two La Liga titles and the coveted UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid. However, his stint in Spain was marred by a string of 18 separate injuries, sidelining him for 95 games for club and country.
This injury-prone phase starkly contrasted with his injury-free years at Chelsea, where he contributed significantly with 110 goals and 92 assists in 352 appearances for the club. Despite playing a lesser role at Real Madrid, Hazard managed to collect six titles, including the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, and UEFA Super Cup.
In his Chelsea days, Hazard's individual accolades included the PFA Players' Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season awards in the 2014–15 campaign. He also received the Chelsea Player of the Year award four times.
Hazard's football journey began with French side Lille, where he won the 2010-11 Ligue 1 title and the Coupe de France. His performances earned him a £32 million move to Chelsea, where he made a significant impact. After seven seasons with Chelsea, he departed following their 2018-19 Europa League triumph and joined Real Madrid in a deal worth up to £150 million.
Eden Hazard's career, though marked by injuries in its latter stages, leaves an indelible mark on the footballing world, and his retirement signifies the end of an era for the talented Belgian winger.