Possibly the greatest ever, for many of us. Certainly the most naturally talented. Without a doubt, one of the best ever.
Eden Hazard defined a generation at Stamford Bridge. He brought us joy, happiness, fun, goals, assists, tricks, flicks, and jaw-dropping moments of sheer awe that lie beyond simple description. And even some trophies. Quite a few trophies in fact, including two Premier League and two Europa League titles.
But he was a man defined less by winning and more by the absolute pleasure he derived from playing the game, and the absolute joy that gave to those who appreciate the game for being, first and foremost, just a game. Just a man, having a bit of fun, with a ball. And it was our privilege to watch him for nine years; which turned out to be the greatest years of his career.
The last few years at Real Madrid were supposed to be the culmination of his dream. They were but a nightmare. He was released from his contract over the summer, and has officially retired from playing today.
But at his peak, he was untouchable. Forever legendary.
Thanks for the memories. Thanks for the laughs. Thank you for everything!
“You must listen to yourself and say stop at the right time.
“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.
“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.”
-Eden Hazard; source: Instagram