Eden Hazard: Former Chelsea maestro retires at 32

Eden Hazard of Chelsea (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Eden Hazard of Chelsea (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) /

The journey of Eden Hazard: A retrospective at 32

Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard, widely regarded as one of the most enigmatic talents in modern football, has officially called time on his professional career at the age of 32. He announced his decision on Instagram saying:

"“You have to know how to listen and say stop at the right time. After 16 years of career and over 700 games played, I have decided to end my professional football career.”"

As we bid adieu to a career which has been marked by incredible highs and frustrating lows, we take a closer look at the career graph of a player who has dazzled football enthusiasts worldwide.

A young prodigy’s rise at Lille to the glorious spell at Chelsea and the challenging tenure at Real Madrid, Hazard’s story is a testament to both the unpredictability and brilliance of the beautiful game.

The Rise at Lille

Joining Lille’s youth academy in 2005, Hazard quickly grabbed the attention of the club’s hierarchy which resulted in him debuting for the first team at just 16. His electric dribbling skills, vision, and goal-scoring prowess made him a standout in Ligue 1. Hazard was instrumental in Lille’s 2010-11 title-winning campaign and was named the French league’s Player of the Year twice.

Glory Days at Chelsea

The summer of 2012 saw the highly anticipated move of Eden Hazard to Chelsea. It was during his time with the five-time Premier League champions that Hazard became the global superstar. His spellbinding performances, exceptional dribbling capabilities, and creative genius made him popular not only among The Blues’ fans but rivals as well. In his seven years stay in the Premier League, he played an influential part in Chelsea winning two league titles, an FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League.

Hazard brought the curtains down on his Chelsea career in 2019, winning the Europa League against arch-rivals Arsenal, marking the end of an illustrious tenure, scoring 110 goals in 352 matches for the London giants and winning the Chelsea Player of the Year award four times in the process.

His accolades at Stamford Bridge solidified his status as one of the world’s best.

Struggles at Real Madrid

The Belgian made his dream move to Real Madrid in 2019 which was met with great excitement. However, his time at the Santiago Bernabeu was marred by injuries that hindered his ability to make a significant impact in La Liga. Despite moments of brilliance, Hazard’s stay with the Los Blancos was overshadowed by frequent spells on the sidelines.

Hazard never really could replicate his form at Chelsea and the burden of replacing Cristiano Ronaldo took a toll on his form and fitness. Recurring injuries, fitness issues and adaptation struggles combined to make his time in the Spanish capital less glorious than anticipated.

Retirement at 32

The decision of Eden Hazard to retire at the age of 32 is a testament to the fact that injuries and a high-stress environment can make an impact on a player’s body and mind.

His early retirement, though disappointing, allows us to reflect on the fleeting nature of sporting careers.

Former Chelsea teammates John Terry, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta among others posted on social media wishing Hazard after the news of his retirement.

The journey of Eden Hazard, from Lille to Chelsea and Real Madrid, saw a player with his remarkable dribbling, vision and the ability to single-handedly change the course of a game, left an indelible mark on the footballing world.

The final years of Hazard’s career might have fallen short of expectations, but his legacy as one of the greats of the sport remains secure.

His retirement brings a chapter to a close in the world of football. We say goodbye to a footballing magician and wish him good luck for the next chapter of his life.