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Chelsea Legend Eden Hazard Retires 102 Days After Real Madrid Contract Termination

Eden Hazard called time on his playing career on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old announced his retirement in a 173-word statement published on Instagram.

That statement began: "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."

Hazard had been a free agent since leaving Real Madrid 102 days earlier after reaching an agreement to terminate his contract with the Spanish club.

His career at the Bernabeu was blighted by injury issues, meaning he only started 30 La Liga matches during four seasons in Madrid.

Hazard will be best remembered for his seven seasons as a Chelsea player.

He scored 110 goals and provided 92 assists in 352 appearances for the Blues, winning six trophies, including two Premier League titles and two UEFA Europa League crowns.

Hazard - who scored 33 goals in 126 international games for Belgium - joined Chelsea in 2012 after starting his senior club career in France with Lille.

Eden Hazard pictured celebrating a goal for Chelsea against Brighton in April 2019

Eden Hazard scored 110 goals for Chelsea

He had been a key player in the Lille side that won the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double in the 2010/11 campaign.

"I was able to realize my dream," said Hazard. "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."

Chelsea responded to the news of Hazard's retirement by publishing multiple tributes via social media.

One tweet from Chelsea's official account read: "Eden Hazard: one of the greatest to play the game. Thank you for everything, and good luck in your retirement".

Another read: "In the flesh Eden Hazard was simply wonderful to watch. A world-class footballer who gave us that sense that this was a player who could do pretty much anything with a ball at his feet."