Eden Hazard reveals he retired because he ‘wasn’t having fun on the pitch’ and ‘didn’t want to play somewhere for the money’ following release by Real Madrid… after dazzling in Calais charity match

  • Eden Hazard is at peace with himself after leaving professional football behind
  •  The 32-year-old dazzled in Calais but was not enjoying his career anymore
  •  Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Eden Hazard has revealed he made a ‘simple’ decision to retire from football because he wasn’t enjoying playing anymore – and wasn’t eager to ‘play somewhere for the money’.

The 32-year-old hung up his boots last week after leaving Real Madrid in the summer – with his contract being ripped up one year early.

On Wednesday night, he revived his glory days with a vintage performance in a charity game in Calais, scoring once and setting up three goals.

While he was all smiles for a low-pressure game alongside former icons of French football, including Robert Pires and Didier Deschamps, he explained that his heart was now elsewhere. 

‘I had always said that I would stop as soon as I didn’t have fun on the pitch anymore. I didn’t want to go and play somewhere for the money,’ he told L’Avenir. 

Eden Hazard has explained he wasn’t enjoying his football anymore before retiring from football – following his glittering career

An injury-hit four years at Real Madrid saw Hazard become a shell of his former Chelsea self

An injury-hit four years at Real Madrid saw Hazard become a shell of his former Chelsea self

Hazard rolled back the years with a fine display in a Calais charity match on Wednesday

Hazard rolled back the years with a fine display in a Calais charity match on Wednesday

‘It was the best solution. I didn’t enjoy training anymore… And I wasn’t playing anymore. The decision was simple.

‘In life, you can’t explain everything. I am at peace with myself. I’m happy. I have so many things to do outside of football that I was able to make a serene choice.’ 

He said that playing for a Belgian club would have been a great story, but that there was a lot of ‘nonsense’ reported during the transfer window. 

Hazard also revealed the emotions he feels towards Real Madrid – not all acrimony, as some might think. He said he met ‘amazing’ people and ‘tasted the dream’ playing for them. 

His legacy will always be complex to unpack. He won five league titles across his career with Lille, Chelsea, and Real Madrid, as well as a Champions League, two Europa Leagues, and numerous domestic trophies. 

He said he was 'at peace' with his decision to leave behind professional football aged 32

 He said he was ‘at peace’ with his decision to leave behind professional football aged 32 

While he said finishing with a Belgian club would have been a nice story, he has other things to do outside professional football - and enjoyed raising money for charity on Wednesday

While he said finishing with a Belgian club would have been a nice story, he has other things to do outside professional football – and enjoyed raising money for charity on Wednesday

The former Chelsea and Belgium favourite converted a neat finish for Varietes CF in Calais

The former Chelsea and Belgium favourite converted a neat finish for Varietes CF in Calais

Individually, he was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season during the 2014–15 campaign. His time at Chelsea brought 110 goals and 92 assists in 352 appearances. 

But he never took off in the Spanish capital. Across a four-season spell, he suffered 18 separate injuries and scored seven goals in 76 outings, a far cry from his shining productivity in London and Lille. 

His fresh explanation for his retirement makes sense. Hazard was at his best when he played with joy and freedom – when that well dried up, football wasn’t the same for him. 

Wednesday’s performance in Calais reminded us of the type of player Hazard was as he strutted his stuff alongside Pires, Deschamps, Yohan Cabaye, Christian Karembeu, and more. 

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