In 2019, he was the most expensive transfer in Real Madrid’s history. Eden Hazard was supposed to be the star player at De Koninklijke, but partly due to injuries, his move to the Spanish capital came to nothing.
How did the marriage fail? “As a child I was a big fan of Zidane, Bernabéu, the white shirt… Real Madrid is a special club, but in retrospect I don’t think I fit in,” Hazard admits.
“I didn’t even like the way I played. But it was my dream and I couldn’t end my career without coming here.”
“Maybe I should have trained more, but I also had the most serious injuries at the wrong times.”
Yet Hazard is not only hiding behind injuries. The former Red Devil admits that he had lived too debauched before his switch.
“I had just had one of the best seasons of my career at Chelsea. I let myself go a bit during my summer holidays, after 7 years in England. Three weeks of barbecue, rosé… that helps me to reset. Alone things went wrong at Real.”
Eden Hazard carried his “casual” image throughout his career. But he dismisses the fact that he was “too lazy”. “I couldn’t last 16 years without training. It’s true that I sometimes showed up for training without much desire to train, I can’t ignore that.”
“Would I have wanted to have the mentality of Cristiano Ronaldo? No. Then I wouldn’t be myself. I don’t need an hour-long ice bath, leave me alone.”
“I preferred to play with my children in the garden for two hours. That was my recovery. If I had lived like Ronaldo, I would have burned myself out.”
“Football wasn’t a job for me, it was a game. It was my favorite toy.”
“But after my ankle operation I lost my confidence and therefore my desire. I was not depressed, but I also didn’t feel like it anymore. I had no energy and strength anymore.”
Still, Hazard would have preferred to say goodbye to Real Madrid in a nice way. “I think it’s a shame that it ended like this. The perfect story would have been a hat-trick in the last league match. It ended well in Lille, even better in Chelsea, but not in Madrid.”
Hazard is no longer thinking about a return to professional football. “The less attention I have, the better. I’m not going to miss it. I enjoyed professional football, but I don’t want to go back to it. I’m 100 percent sure of that.”