In the twilight of his illustrious career at the age of 32, Belgian maestro Eden Hazard announced his retirement from the beautiful game. As we reflect on his club football journey that began in France with Lille and culminated in Spain with Real Madrid, it becomes abundantly clear that the zenith of his career, his true prime, unfurled on the hallowed pitches of the English Premier League with Chelsea.
During his tenure at Stamford Bridge, Hazard’s brilliance shone brightly, earning him a slew of accolades, including the coveted PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2015, PFA Young Player of the Year in 2014, and the prestigious FWA Footballer of the Year title in 2015. His influence extended beyond personal recognition, playing an integral role in CFC’s conquest of two Premier League titles, a pair of UEFA Europa League triumphs, and multiple domestic cup victories.
The Belgian’s enigmatic presence on the field was akin to a wizard, conjuring moments of pure magic as he elegantly glided past defenders, leaving a trail of iconic goals and indelible memories in his wake. His dribbling prowess was peerless, it was like he created magic when he moved across the pitch. The Belgian maestro’s record of 916 successful take-on in the Premier League over seven seasons remains unmatched, a testament to his dribbling virtuosity. Impressively, he executed 100 or more take-ons in five distinct Premier League campaigns.
Chelsea Legend Eden Hazard
Former Blues defender Filipe Luis once quipped about Hazard’s seemingly effortless brilliance, saying:
"“He didn’t train well. Five minutes before the game, he would be playing Mario Kart in the dressing room. He would warm up without tying his bootlaces up. But then, no one could take the ball off of him. He would dribble past three or four players and win games on his own.”"
Hazard was not just a dribbling savant; he was a prolific goal-scorer and an exquisite provider for his teammates. In the 2014/15 season, he crafted a staggering 100 chances, with 98 originating from open play. Since the 2006/07 season, only two players have accomplished the rare feat of scoring 15+ goals while providing 15+ assists in multiple big-five European leagues. Only Lionel Messi (6) has done it more times than Hazard (2).
During his prime, Hazard was nothing short of mesmerizing, possessing an innate ability to singlehandedly alter the course of a match. His highlight reel includes the sublime goal against Arsenal, where he spun past Francis Coquelin before gliding through the defense, as well as the occasion where he nonchalantly dismantled half of West Ham United’s backline to find the net. Two unforgettable strikes at Anfield, a dramatic late winner against Tottenham Hotspur that extinguished their title hopes, and a virtuoso performance in his farewell for Chelsea in the Europa League final, which culminated in a 4-1 dismantling of Arsenal, stand as eternal testaments to his brilliance.
These moments remain etched in the hearts of Chelsea faithful, forever memorializing the prince of Stamford Bridge, Eden Hazard. Remarkably, Hazard stands as the last player to score 20+ goals for the club in a single season.
Eden Hazard exits the stage as a Blues legend, leaving behind a statistical legacy befitting an icon: He notched 85 Premier League goals, a tally surpassed only by Chelsea greats Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba. On average, Hazard either scored or provided an assist for a Chelsea goal every 99 minutes in the Premier League. He created a staggering 595 chances, more than any other player in the Premier League since his Chelsea debut. With 110 goals, he firmly secures his place as the ninth-highest goal-scorer in the club’s storied history.
As Eden Hazard bids adieu to professional football, CFC fans and football fans around the world send him their warmest wishes and heartfelt gratitude. We eagerly anticipate the day when the Bridge will once again bask in the glow of his presence, a fitting tribute to a player who remains a cherished chapter in the storied history of Chelsea FC. Eden Hazard, a legend on the pitch, and forever etched into football history.