Eden Hazard is set to retire from football at the age of 32, having ended his £400,000-a-week Real Madrid contract early, as per reports.
The Belgian forward brought a premature close to his dismal stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, drawing a close to his Real Madrid career a year before the end of his contract.
The 32-year-old has already called time on his international career after Belgium’s dire 2022 World Cup campaign.
However, reports from Spain suggest that the former Chelsea star will remain in the capital, making retirement a genuine possibility.
Mundo Deportivo claims that the player is keen to stay in Madrid along with his family, and it is a decision that he has begun to consider in earnest in recent days.
That would leave him with a difficult decision – either he will have to find a new club near enough to the city, or call time on a career that, prior to joining Real, saw him ranked among the best to play the game in Europe.
In a statement on their website, the club said: ‘Real Madrid CF and Eden Hazard have reached an agreement whereby the player will be released from the club as of June 30, 2023.
‘Eden Hazard has been part of our club for four seasons, in which he has won 8 titles: 1 European Cup, 1 Club World Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 2 Leagues, 1 Copa del Rey and 2 Spanish Super Cups.
‘Real Madrid wants to express its affection for Eden Hazard and wishes him and his entire family the best of luck in this new stage’.
Retirement may seem somewhat premature for a 32-year-old, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo still playing at 38 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic only just retiring at 41.
But it is a decision that is thought to have been on the player’s mind for some time, with his passion for the game reportedly fading over the course of his stay at Real.
After powering to the forefront of the sport with Chelsea, a move to Los Blancos for a fee that could’ve risen to £150million saw increased injuries and decreased minutes on the pitch.
As a result, Hazard in fact made only 76 appearances for the Merengues, scoring seven and assisting another 12, a disappointing return for one of the most talented players of the last decade.
Although the Belgian took the step of ending his contract early having come to an agreement with club officials, there was never thought to be any issue of integration into the squad.
Where former star Gareth Bale infamously could not speak Spanish, Hazard was reportedly fluent, with his assimilation to Madrid life part of the reason he is keen to remain there.
Furthermore, one of his sons, Leo, in fact joined the Real Madrid youth set up just three months ago.
Retirement is not a foregone conclusion, with Hazard reportedly slightly interested in a move to the MLS or a similarly intriguing project, while a mega-money deal from Saudi Arabia could also be offered which may be hard to turn down.