Eden Hazard lived the ‘dream’ playing for Real Madrid despite injury problems


Eden Hazard has no regrets about how his dream move to Real Madrid unfolded as he enjoys life after football.

The Belgian forward joined the Spanish giants in 2019 after becoming one of the best players in the world at Chelsea but could not have the impact he hoped for.

Injuries and poor form restricted him to just 76 appearances in all competitions before leaving the club after four disappointing years last summer.

He decided to retire soon after, aged just 32, but will put his boots back on this summer after signing up to play for the World XI at Soccer Aid.

Hazard still looks back on his time at the Bernabeu with pride.

“It was my dream, I can tell you,” he said. “Even if the story was not that good, we all know injuries and this and that, but when you look back you can see some pictures of me wearing the Real Madrid shirt and it was something I am really proud of.”

Asked whether he could have carried on playing had things ended differently at Madrid, he replied: “That’s a good question, who knows? I think so, but my time playing football was over, I had a lot of injuries, so no regrets.”

Hazard’s involvement in Soccer Aid on June 9 will see an emotional return to Stamford Bridge, where he enjoyed a stellar seven years.

He won two Premier League titles, two Europa Leagues, an FA Cup and a League Cup and reflects on “pure happiness” during his stay in west London.

“I spent seven years, the best memories of my football career,” he said.

“I met great players, not just inside the team but also outside the club, it was seven years of pure happiness.

“When you leave you always feel a bit sad but this club is always in my head, so just good memories.”

Hazard, who has kept in shape because he doesn’t want to look like “Peppa Pig”, is enjoying life away from football.

He does not see a future in professional coaching or management, but would love to help his five children follow him into the game.

“I am enjoying it a lot, I miss being with the lads in the dressing room a bit but I have the freedom to do what I want now,” he told the PA news agency.

“I have kids, I have family, I can go to Belgium to see my mum and dad, so I can do a lot of things.

“I don’t know, now it is just good to be away, but I still love football, for sure I am going to do something in football in the future, but now I just want to relax and enjoy my retirement.

“I don’t think I will coach professionally, but I think I can coach for youth teams. I have kids, and I want to teach them how to play football.”

He will be managed by current Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino in the charity match, with the likes of Usain Bolt and Roberto Carlos joining him in the World XI.

“It’s going to be at Stamford Bridge with friends, so it is going to be a great night,” he said.

“So let’s have fun, score some goals and make the fans happy. They do amazing work, especially when you are a dad and you have kids and you see everything they do for kids.

“You want them to do more and that is why you want people to come to the game to have a good time at Stamford Bridge.”

:: Soccer Aid for Unicef 2024 takes place on June 9 at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, with tickets available at www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets.





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