Belgian attacking midfielder Eden Hazard announced his retirement on Tuesday after failing to find another club following his release by Real Madrid.
The 32-year-old endured an injury-plagued spell at the Spanish giants after his 89-million-pound (103 million euros, $110 million) move from Chelsea in 2019, playing just 76 matches in all competitions across four seasons.
“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time,” Hazard wrote on Instagram. “After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer.”
Hazard had a far happier time at Chelsea, winning both the Premier League title and Europa League twice as well as the FA and League Cup from 2012-2019. He was also integral to Belgium’s impressive run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, beating Brazil in the quarter-finals but bowing out to eventual champions France in the semi-final.
However, he was unable to rouse himself for last year’s World Cup finals when along with fellow stars Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, Hazard and a below-par Belgium exited in the group stage. Nevertheless, Hazard — who also won a Ligue 1 crown with Lille and two La Liga titles with Real and picked up a Champions League winners’ medal as an unused substitute in 2022 — was in a grateful mood as he signed off.