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Eden Hazard announces his retirement from football after a disappointing spell at Real Madrid

Former Chelsea and Real Madrid star Eden Hazard has decided to hang up his boots at the age of 32, following a series of injuries and poor performances that marred his career in Spain. The Belgian winger, who was once regarded as one of the best players in the world, announced his retirement on Instagram, saying that he had fulfilled his dream of playing and having fun on many pitches around the world.

A glorious career at Chelsea

Hazard joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012 and quickly became a fan favourite at Stamford Bridge, with his dazzling skills, goals and assists. He won two Premier League titles, two Europa League trophies, one FA Cup and one League Cup with the Blues, scoring 110 goals in 352 appearances. He was also named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2015 and the FWA Footballer of the Year in 2015 and 2019.

Hazard was instrumental in Chelsea’s success under managers such as Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri, forming lethal partnerships with players like Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and N’Golo Kante. He also scored the decisive penalty in the 2019 Europa League final against Arsenal, which turned out to be his last game for Chelsea.

Eden Hazard announces his retirement from football after a disappointing spell at Real Madrid

A nightmare at Real Madrid

Hazard’s dream move to Real Madrid in 2019 for a reported fee of £89 million turned into a nightmare, as he struggled to cope with the expectations and pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu. He suffered from multiple injuries, including ankle fractures, muscle strains and Covid-19, which limited his playing time and affected his form and fitness.

He played only 54 league games for Real Madrid in four seasons, scoring just five goals and providing eight assists. He also faced criticism from fans and media for his lack of impact, professionalism and commitment. He won three trophies with Real Madrid – one Champions League, two La Liga titles – but he was mostly a peripheral figure in those campaigns.

A legend for Belgium

Hazard made his senior debut for Belgium in 2008 at the age of 17, becoming the youngest player ever to represent his country. He went on to win 126 caps for the Red Devils, scoring 33 goals and becoming their all-time top scorer. He captained Belgium to their best ever finish at a World Cup, third place in 2018, where he also won the Silver Ball as the second best player of the tournament.

He retired from international football in December 2022, after Belgium were eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar in the group stage. He said that he wanted to make way for younger players and focus on his club career. However, he failed to rediscover his form and confidence at Real Madrid, and decided to end his career as a professional footballer four months later.

A farewell message to his fans

Hazard posted a farewell message on Instagram, thanking his fans, teammates, coaches and clubs for their support throughout his career. He said that he had enjoyed playing football for 16 years and more than 700 matches, but he felt that it was time to stop and enjoy his loved ones and new experiences. He also expressed his gratitude to Chelsea and Real Madrid for giving him the opportunity to play for two of the biggest clubs in the world.

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. Now is the time to enjoy my loved ones and have new experiences.

I want to thank all my fans who have always supported me, all my teammates who have shared unforgettable moments with me, all my coaches who have helped me grow as a player and as a person, and all my clubs who have given me the chance to play at the highest level. Chelsea and Real Madrid will always have a special place in my heart. I will never forget what we achieved together. Thank you for everything.”

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