Kylian Mbappe paid tribute to Eden Hazard, who announced his retirement from football on Tuesday (October 11).
The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner took to Instagram to post a story of Hazard in his Lille jersey along with the caption:
“Le Grand Eden. Merci” (translation: The Great Eden. Thank you)
Hazard, 32, brought an early end to his career after mutually terminating his contract with Real Madrd this summer. He was left without a club post his departure from the Spanish capital and released the following statement on Instagram:
“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.”
Mbappe joined in on congratulating the Belgium for his illustrious career alongside other players. The 24-year-old Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward shared the pitch against Hazard during their semifinal clash at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, where France beat Belgium 1-0.
Having grown up in France, Mbappe might have seen Hazard in his early days in Ligue 1, when the Belgian winger played for Lille. He racked up 50 goals and 53 assists in 194 games for the French club, winning the Ligue 1 Player of the Year twice. Hazard also won the Ligue 1 title with Lille during the 2010-11 season.
Hazard’s journey from Lille to Chelsea and Real Madrid
As a promising young talent in Europe, Hazard become well-renowned in Europe, with several top clubs chasing his signature during the summer of 2012. He opted to join Chelsea, with whom he went on to spend seven wonderful years in south-west London.
Hazard racked up 110 goals and 92 assists in 352 games across competitions for the Blues, winning the Premier League Player of the Year award during the 2014-15 season. At Chelsea, Hazard won two Premier League titles, two Europa League trophies and one FA Cup and one Carabao Cup.
In 2019, his impressive run of form at Chelsea earned him a mega move to Real Madrid in a deal that could have risen to £150 million. He was given the No. 7 jersey at Real Madrid, a significant honour at the club, and was largely expected to replace Cristiano Ronaldo for Los Blancos.
It turned out to be a failed gamble for Madrid, though, as Hazard lost his form, and was also pegged down by a string of injuries. Over the next four seasons, Hazard made only 76 appearances for Los Blancos, registering seven goals and 12 assists. He did win the Champions League with the Spanish giants in the 2021-22 season but was largely a fringe member of the UCL-winning squad.
Hazard also captained his national team to a third-place finish in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The curtains have now come down on what has otherwise been an excellent overall career.