Eden Hazard: former Chelsea and Real Madrid player announces retirement from football at age 32

Champions League and Premier League winner Eden Hazard, who had notable stints at both Chelsea at Real Madrid, announced to fans that he is retiring from football

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Former Chelsea player Eden Hazard has announced that he is retiring from football at the age of 32.

In a statement, Hazard, who has been a free agent since being released by La Liga giants Real Madrid in June, said: "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. 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. 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."

The 32-year-old Belgian winger, who is noted to be one of the most gifted players of his generation, saw major success throughout his career. Hazard stated his professional career with French club Lille. During his time at the club, he made 149 appearances and scored 50 goals, being a key part of Lille's success in winning a domestic double in the 2010-11 season.

His exploits in Lille caught the attention of Premier League club Chelsea in 2012, who signed the winger for a reported transfer fee of £32million. Hazard went on to become a club legend for the west London club. He was instrumental in Chelsea's Premier League success in the 2014-15 season and the 2016-17 season, as well as winning the UEFA Europa League with the team in his first season.

In addition to this, he won the 2017-19 FA Cup while at Stamford Bridge, while also returning to UEFA Europa League glory in the 2018-19 season. Hazard was well-regarded by fans and his colleagues, earning the title of the Chelsea Player of the Year four times during his time at the club. He also earned acclaim from outside the club, winning the PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2014-15 season, while also picking up the Fans' Player of the Year for 2018-19.

In 2019, Real Madrid bought the player for £89million from Chelsea. During his time at the club, he was part of the squad which won the Champions League in 2022, although he remained benched for the final. The team also won two La Liga titles in his time at the club in 2019-20 and 2021-22.

With Real Madrid, Hazard would only make 74 appearances with a return of only seven goals and 12 assists following a downturn in form owing to surgeries and injuries. Hazard was released by Real Madrid in June 2023, with him remaining a free agent up until his retirement announcement.

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