The forgotten Belgian superstar still has time on his side, but his stock has taken a hit after four disappointing seasons at Real Madrid
Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard is at a crossroads in his career after Real Madrid ripped up his contract after four underwhelming years.
The Belgian’s blockbuster move to the Bernabeu should have seen the diminutive striker’s stardom explode to stratospheric new heights, but a lack of form and fitness ruined his spell in Spain. In the end, it came as no great shock that manager Carlo Ancelotti decided to show him the door at the end of last season.
The one-off success for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in England was a stark contrast to how he fared following his move to Los Blancos, where the 126-capped international had made just 76 appearances, a disappointing seven strikes over four seasons. In his last year in West London alone, he scored 21 goals in 52 games.
Although he picked up two league winners’ medals and was instrumental in Madrid’s Champions League triumph in 2022, his influence was minimal in those performances. Now aged 32, there have been many suggestions that Hazard could hang up his boots after his games in the Spanish capital.
That said, the former Stamford Bridge fan favorite looks set to remain defiant and told RTBF that he would be keen to try and rebuild his career with a new club next season. He may have endured a difficult spell with the 14-time European champions, but he still apparently feels he has something to offer.
He said: “After three complicated years, I just want to spend time with my family, go on vacation, like everyone else. We’ve read a lot of things in the last few days, and a lot of nonsense. I don’t know, we’ll see… I still feel capable of being a professional footballer, but at the same time, I’ve rested for two or three years. I still have some energy!”
Here we assess the possible options for the forgotten superstar as we head into the new season…
1. Return to Belgium
It may come as a surprise to some to learn that Belgian giants Anderlecht finished a lowly 11th in the Pro League, meaning they missed out on a place in the play-offs. The Brussels-based club have already added Danish star Kasper Dolberg to their squad this summer as they look to get back to winning ways next term. Anderlecht sporting director Jesper Fredberg addressed the possibility of a switch for Hazard in an interview with The newspaper. However, he rejected any suggestion that they would make a move for the former Lille star, so it appears the latter is dead in the water.
2. Reunion with brother
Observant football fans will be aware that Hazard comes from a family with a history in the game. Eden’s younger sibling Thorgan is currently on the books of Borussia Dortmund, while another brother Kylian plays for new Beligum top-flight outfit Racing White Daring de Molenbeek. A move to the newly promoted side could very well be an option for the former Chelsea superstar, according to French publication The team. Both attacking midfielders, it remains to be seen whether a sibling rivalry would arise in the battle for a place in the team should the elder Hazard join the club.
3. La Liga stay
Although the struggling winger struggled during his four years in La Liga with Real Madrid, a potential move to Celta Vigo has been suggested as a potential option for Hazard this summer. According to El Futbolero US, Spanish press had suggested that Hazard has been suggested as a potential new recruit by the Galician side. But the Defense Center have moved to dismiss any speculation in this regard, claiming the 32-year-old was merely attending a wedding in Spain, as opposed to entering into talks with a club over a potential move.
4. MLS move
Even though Hazard has rejected a move to MLS with Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami according to Football newspaper, he has been linked with moves to other destinations in the premier American league. According to Spanish radio station COPE, Canadian outfits Vancouver Whitecaps and CF Montreal have previously been mentioned as potential alternatives in the past. Whether or not Hazard prefers the option of remaining in his native Europe remains to be seen, but there appears to have been some interest in his services stateside in recent times.
5. Saudi Arabia shift
With former team-mate Karim Benzema as well as superstars including Cristiano Ronaldo moving to the cash-rich Saudi Pro League in recent times, it doesn’t seem inconceivable that Hazard could hypothetically follow suit. That said, journalist Sacha Tavolieri suggested the Belgian had no intention of moving to the Middle East this summer. According to El Chiringuito, earlier this year the former Chelsea man met with former Lille coach Rudi Garcia to discuss a possible move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr. However, a potential link-up with Ronaldo doesn’t seem to have gained much momentum since.