The football world is overwhelmed with the retirement news of Eden Hazard as revealed by renowned sports journalist Fabrizio Romano on X in the early hours of Tuesday, 10 October 2023.
Some might say Hazard did not fully live up to his full potential due to bedeviling injuries that affected him while at Madrid. Nonetheless, while his playing days lasted, the Belgian made his mark and achieved great success at club level and unfulfilled promise with the Belgium national team’s “Golden Generation”.
“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time,” said Hazard, who had been without a club since his contract with Real Madrid expired in June.
“After 16 years and more than 700 matches played, I have decided to end my career as a professional footballer.”
“I was able to realize my dream, I have played and had fun on many pitches around the world.”
“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 thanks to 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.”
In a playing career that lasted for 16 years, Hazard left many fond memories in his spell in Ligue 1 for Lille and the Premier League for Chelsea.
Across the aforementioned period, the two-time EPL title winner played with many African players. Here are some of the best he played with.
5 best African stars who played with Eden Hazard
John Mikel Obi
The Belgian was at the Stamford Bridge side for seven seasons and played alongside the former Super Eagles captain in the midfield for five years, between 2012 and 2017 when Mikel left Chelsea.
Mikel Obi and Eden Hazard won Premier League titles, FA Cup, EFL Cup, and UEFA Europa League titles together while at the London club before the 2013 AFCON winner left the Blues to play in the Chinese league in 2017.
Only few Chelsea fans know that Drogba and Hazard were indeed teammates at Chelsea for one season. Club legend Drogba in his second spell at Chelsea in the 2012/15 season and marked his return to Premier League action for Chelsea in a 3-1 win away to Burnley, replacing winger Eden Hazard in the 84th minute at Turf Moor on 18 August 2014. The one year spell is enough to earn him as one of the best African stars to play with Eden Hazard.
Drogba had left the London side in 2012 following the historic Champions League win over Bayern Munich as the club marked their first title in Europe's elite club football.
Salah and Hazard were former teammates at Chelsea, but the Egyptian left London for Italy in 2015 having struggled to establish himself under Jose Mourinho. His loan spells at Fiorentina and Roma redefined the Egyptian as he subsequently left Chelsea for Roma in 2016. Salah played 13 games and scored two goals as teammates with Hazard. Even though his stay in London left much to be desired, he was one of the best African Stars who played with the Belgian.
In June 2011, Enyeama moved to French side Lille for an undisclosed fee on a three-year contract. He made his debut on 18 October 2011 against Inter Milan in the 2012 UEFA Champions League group stage, where Inter managed a 1-0 victory.
Enyeama didn't play a long time with Hazard as both became teammates for just one season as Hazard left in 2012. Still, Enyeama makes the cut as one of the best African players to play alongside Hazard.
The ex-Super Eagles goalie is popularly regarded as one of the greatest African goalkeepers of all time and of his era.
Moses and Hazard were teammates at Chelsea. Hazard arrived at Stamford Bridge in June 2012 from Ligue 1 club Lille, while Moses joined the Blues two months later.
Together as players for Chelsea, they both lifted the Premier League under Antonio Conte in 2017 and won the FA Cup and two Europa Leagues during their time at the club, making the 2013 AFCON winner with Nigeria one of the best African stars who played with Eden Hazard.
Other African stars Eden Hazard played with
The Belgian captain Hazard also played alongside the following African star footballers:
- Demba Ba (Chelsea)
- Pierre Aubameyang (Lille)
- Jean Makoun (Lille)
- Gervinho (Lille)
- Baba Rahman (Chelsea)
- Victor Moses (Chelsea)
- Samuel Eto'o.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago