Azar always said privately that one day he no longer enjoyed playing football and he would quit. That day has now come.
On Tuesday, the 32-year-old decided to end his 16-year career because the sport was no longer fun for him. It’s been a while… probably since he joined Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019 for €100 million.
Having fun has always been the main reason why wingers play. When he was a child he played in the garden at home and all he wanted to do was enjoy himself. It’s no surprise, then, that his retirement message on social media mentioned that he “fulfilled his dream of playing football and having fun on pitches around the world.”
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Despite Hazard’s recent injury troubles in Madrid, he still leaves a legacy as one of the greatest forwards in the Premier League. He is both a Chelsea legend and a Belgium legend. The statistics speak for themselves: he played 352 games for the club, scoring 110 goals, in addition to winning 2 Premier League trophies, 2 Europa League titles, an FA Cup and the 2014-15 PFA and FWA Player of the Year Individual honors for best player. For his country, we could score 33 goals in 126 games, reaching the pinnacle of a “golden generation” of star players and finishing third at the 2018 World Cup.
Hazard is an artist; one of the best dribblers of his generation. In his prime, he was unable to produce at times. With a low center of gravity, ball-handling skills, speed, intelligence and a strong desire to win, opponents are often unable to get close to him, let alone steal the ball from him – as shown by his goal on the run in 2017 The midfield line against Arsenal in 2016.
A football prodigy since childhood, Lille scouts spotted him in 2005 and two years later he made his professional debut for the club at the age of 16. In Ligue 1, he remains one of only two players to be awarded the Ligue 1 Youth Player of the Year award. Multiple Player of the Year and Player of the Year winners – the other being Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.
In 2011, his talent helped Lille win the league and cup double. But he was too good for Ligue 1. He scored 20 goals in 38 league games in his final season before joining Chelsea in 2013 for around €40 million. The move makes sense as he joins a team where he will play a key role and where he will be a protagonist. He was a protagonist – winning loads of trophies and terrorizing Premier League defenses across the country.
But Azar only cares about playing and winning. Training is not suitable for him; He didn’t like it and didn’t put in much effort. He is a big-name player who shines on big occasions, especially domestically.this is his Reason for existence.
Alas, there was no big deal when he moved to Real Madrid in 2019. Real Madrid was his dream, and club legend Zinedine Zidane (then head coach) was his childhood idol. But his four years in Spain were an absolute nightmare. There were hurts, misunderstandings, disappointments, bad decisions and failures, and the feeling that he had thrown in the towel too easily. One stat that proves his injury issues more than any other is that he never played a minute in his last game. El Clasico against rival Barcelona. A big-name player – one of the ten most expensive players in history until this year – has never played in the biggest game.
Hazard reported being overweight during his first pre-season training. He did this every summer with his previous team because the holidays were sacred to him, but the club never forgave him and he never really recovered. In Madrid, he no longer felt like a footballer. Despite winning more trophies (two La Liga, Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup, Club World Cup and Champions League), they never felt like his. That was the beginning of the end.
Some might say his four years at the Bernabeu ruined his achievements at Stamford Bridge; some might say his poor performance in the Champions League illustrated his limitations. But comparisons to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are unfair – they are machines, while he is more of a romantic who sees football as a game, not a job .
Perhaps that was part of the problem with his career, as he clearly never had the drive and ambition that Messi and Ronaldo had. Despite this, Hazard is still an absolute “genius” player. Performers and entertainers. Fans will buy tickets to watch him play! Sometimes, He makes the impossible possible. As former Belgium assistant coach Thierry Henry once said: “I would look at him and think: ‘Why on earth is he doing that?’ And then he would succeed and I would say: ‘Ah, yes, All right!'”
Football needs players like this, and while Hazard has been unable to showcase his true skills for some time, he has spread the joy and enjoyment of the game throughout his career and deserves a place among the greats.