Eden Hazard hailed by Juan Mata as 'one of best' as Belgian retires

Kylian Mbappe, Juan Mata and host of football stars pay tribute to Eden Hazard, as he is hailed as ‘one of the best ever’ after announcing his retirement at 32

  • The Belgian was without a club since he Real Madrid released him in the summer
  • Mata described Hazard as ‘one of the best’ and said he brought ‘joy to football’
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

Eden Hazard has been hailed by Kylian Mbappe, Frank Lampard and Juan Mata as ‘one of the best’ as a string of stars pay tribute to the Belgian international who has retired at the age of 32. 

After being left without a club since he was released by Real Madrid in the summer, Premier League legend Hazard has confirmed his decision to retire from football via a post on social media. 

Writing on Instagram, he said: ‘After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer. I was able to realise my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world.’

Responding to his post, former team-mate Mata – who played with Hazard for a season and a half at Stamford Bridge before the Spaniard joined United in January 2014 – said: ‘Oh how I enjoyed playing with this guy… One of the best. 

‘Enjoy your new chapter my friend, you deserve it, thanks for bringing your joy to football.’ 

Former Chelsea player Eden Hazard confirmed his retirement at the age of 32 on social media

Former stars and team-mates take to social media to pay tribute to ‘one of the best’ Hazard

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Chelsea legend Frank Lampard also commented on the post: ‘Congratulations @hazardeden10. What talent, and what a career. 

‘It was a pleasure to play with you, and you are a top man in every way. Good luck with what comes next.’

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe posted on his Instagram story: ‘Le grand Eden. MERCI,’ which translates to: ‘The great Eden, thank you.’

Fulham player Willian, who played for Chelsea from 2013 until 2020, wrote in the comments section: ‘It was a huge pleasure to play with you my brother, may God continue blessing your life. Thank you for everything love you bro!!!’ 

Fellow Chelsea team-mate Danny Drinkwater also said: ‘Was a short period we spent together bro… but it was an honour! True magician. All the best.’ 

A string of Hazard’s former clubs also took to social media to share their thanks and best wishes to the Belgian. 

The Belgian national team X account wrote: ‘Thanks for everything, captain,’ while Anderlecht commented: ‘What a career. All the best for the future Eden.’

Some of Eden’s Belgian teammates also posted tributes, with Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois writing: ‘Thank you for everything my friend!’

Both Kylian Mbappe and former Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata share their praise of Hazard

Juan Mata, who played with Hazard for a season and a half, described him as ‘one of the best’

Posting on social media, Paris Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappe wrote: ‘The great Eden Hazard’

The Premier League’s official X account said: ‘An illustrious playing career comes to an end. Wishing you the best in retirement @hazardeden10.’ 

Hazard scored 85 goals and recorded 54 assists for Chelsea in the Premier League, winning two league titles. 

Explaining his decision to retire on Instagram, the Belgian wrote: ‘You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time.

‘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.

‘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 former Lille, Chelsea and Real Madrid player has called time on his playing career

Hazard has been without a club after he was released by Real Madrid in the summer


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