A very hon­est inter­view with Eden.

Eden Haz­ard was once hailed as one of the world’s most tal­ent­ed mid­field­ers, but he retired at just 32 years old — much ear­li­er than one might have expect­ed.

The cham­pi­onship in France with Lille, a mag­nif­i­cent sev­en years at Chelsea, bronze at the World Cup in Rus­sia with Bel­gium and tor­ment at Real Madrid. By the end of 2022, fans had sim­ply for­got­ten that Eden exist­ed. I only remem­bered jokes about being over­weight and end­less injuries.

In an inter­view with L’E­quipe, Haz­ard spoke can­did­ly about his atti­tude to foot­ball, poor diet, and why he was unable to play in Spain.

Eden Hazard at Chelsea. Haz­ard’s career end­ed not at 32, but much ear­li­er — with his depar­ture from Chelsea.

Football was my hobby, my toy

“Was foot­ball a job for me? No, it was a game. And I tried to main­tain this atti­tude until the end. When foot­ball stopped being a game for me, I stopped. I knew I did this for a liv­ing, but I did­n’t want to think about it. It was my hob­by, my toy. And that’s why I built this career. That’s what I think”.

Do I wish I had the same atti­tude towards foot­ball as Cris­tiano Ronal­do? No. Then it would­n’t be me. An hour in a cold bath after a match is a no-no. Leave me alone, I want to spend time with friends, go home, play cards, drink beer. I played with the chil­dren in the gar­den for two hours at a time, and that was my recov­ery.

If I lived like Ronal­do, I would burn out. But this is just an exam­ple, because there are oth­er play­ers with this approach.

When you play well, you do what you want. This is my prin­ci­ple. I did­n’t go to the gym every three days or spend three hours in phys­i­cal ther­a­py to recov­er. But I made a dif­fer­ence. And that’s all that’s required of the play­er.”

Pho­to by Glob­al Look Press

Diets suck, they’re useless

I won’t say that I ignored the diet. I just did­n’t pay atten­tion. But I did­n’t go to McDon­ald’s every day — then I would­n’t have played 16 years at the pro­fes­sion­al lev­el. I just did­n’t pay any atten­tion to it. I am a bon vivant: I love to eat deli­cious food, spend time with friends, and drink. There were times when I drank a small bot­tle the day before a match.

Diets suck and are use­less. Well, this can be use­ful if you want to play until you are 40. I knew that this was not my case. I always had a small bot­tle of wine in my refrig­er­a­tor..

Eden Hazard. Each Haz­ard goal cost Real Madrid 43 mil­lion euros. The dis­as­trous trans­fer of the Bel­gian cost the club a lot of mon­ey

The inci­dent with the ham­burg­er dur­ing the nation­al team match was a mis­take of youth. I did it more for fun, because it’s me, I played well for Bel­gium.

The last match of the sea­son, after that there is a hol­i­day. It was a real­ly impor­tant game, we could have qual­i­fied for the Euros. I was upset that I was replaced. In the lock­er room I saw on TV that we missed a penal­ty. If I had been on the field, I would have def­i­nite­ly punched it. Then I called my dad: “Let’s meet out­side.” And he asked his uncle to bring ham­burg­ers. We were eat­ing, and there was a cam­era there. It is non­sense. But Bel­gium has good burg­ers, I know that!”

“Don’t touch me” mode on vacation

“Five extra kilos after mov­ing to Real Madrid? I’ve just fin­ished a great sea­son with Chelsea, one of the best of my career. Then I said to myself: “Now you are at Real Madrid, so this may be the last vaca­tion you can…” And I allowed myself to do what I did every sum­mer. Noth­ing unusu­al.

Under­stand, sev­en years in Eng­land, no breaks even at Christ­mas. I gave it my all, so when I got three or four weeks off, I went into “don’t touch me” mode. Bar­be­cue, rosé and all that. This allowed me to reboot. But then things went wrong at Real Madrid and that was the end of it.

My body has made me pay for all these years. I start­ed ear­ly, played non-stop, got sick. Not because I ate some­thing wrong. I say this, but I can’t prove it. Those who sup­pos­ed­ly know every­thing will say: “That’s because he wasn’t pay­ing atten­tion to him­self.” To each his own.

At Real Madrid I had a series of injuries. Some­times I did­n’t even know what the rea­son was. You wake up, get out of bed and get injured. Wait, what? My body is tired, it can no longer fight. He needs to rest. Over the past few years, my body has been telling me, “Hey! You know what, cut that crap, be care­ful, take care of your­self!”

Pho­to by Glob­al Look Press

Only Messi is stronger than me individually

“Did I suf­fer in Madrid? No. I was lucky to get into big foot­ball and earn a lot of mon­ey. Peo­ple have dif­fi­cul­ties every day. I had no right to com­plain even when I was­n’t play­ing, even when I was injured. I had no right to say “life sucks.” This is impos­si­ble.

It hurt me, but on the oth­er hand… In the end, I used it as an excuse. “It hurts, I can’t do this.” I was­n’t depressed, I just did­n’t want it any­more. Move some­where, get used to a new team, trans­port chil­dren. I no longer had the ener­gy and strength for this.

Plea­sure is my path, my direc­tion. Once it was gone, there was no more mean­ing.

Charlie Morgan. He made a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar for­tune sell­ing vod­ka. What hap­pened to the ball­boy who was hit by Haz­ard

Do I feel guilty? No. But I’m sad for the real Real Madrid fans. When I arrived they were full of hope. I felt like I had let them down. I want to address them: “It’s not my fault, my body let me down. I tried, but it did­n’t work. Sor­ry!

I’ve been a fan of Zine­dine Zidane since I was a child. Bern­abeu, white kit… It has its own charm that oth­ers don’t have. Real Madrid is some­thing spe­cial.

How­ev­er, I didn’t think that I would ever fit into this team. This does­n’t sound like me. The club is a lit­tle arro­gant, but I’m not like that. But it was my dream, I couldn’t end my career with­out com­ing here.

Indi­vid­u­al­ly, only Mes­si is prob­a­bly stronger than me. I enjoyed him at Barcelona, ​​then a lit­tle less, but he is the great­est in his­to­ry. It is impos­si­ble to beat him, you can­not take the ball away from him.

Ronal­do has more achieve­ments than me, but in terms of pure foot­ball, hon­est­ly, he is no bet­ter. Also Ney­mar, maybe.

There were also play­ers who were no stronger than me, Real Madrid sim­ply had the best. Includ­ing career achieve­ments. Ben­ze­ma, Mod­ric, Kroos, I will also men­tion De Bruyne. They breathe foot­ball.”

Pho­to by Glob­al Look Press

“My Career is a great bestseller”

“I could have earned 10 mil­lion more if I had been more pro­fes­sion­al. But why? It’s a lot of mon­ey, but I did­n’t want it. And I don’t have to do much to be hap­py. I take the kids to school, play foot­ball, cel­e­brate my son turn­ing two, play golf, ten­nis, and run a lit­tle. All these are the lit­tle things in life. I like it. I love watch­ing TV series or car­toons with chil­dren. I don’t watch foot­ball any­more, only my brother’s games at Ander­lecht. By the way, VAR sucks.

My career has been a won­der­ful sto­ry. Some­times the last chap­ter of a book is crap. You think, “What the… why did it end like this?” But then the book becomes a best­seller. I’m a small boy from the coun­try­side, I enjoyed foot­ball in my own way and what excites me is when I let my emo­tions run wild. My career has been great, it’s a great best­seller.”

Injuries really tormented Eden

Over four sea­sons, Haz­ard played only 76 match­es for Real Madrid. At the Madrid club, the Bel­gian was injured 17 times (he suf­fered anoth­er coro­n­avirus infec­tion); in sev­en years at Chelsea there were 12 injuries.